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Title: The Ramayana 

Release Date: March 18, 2008 [Ebook 24869] 
Language: English 



Translated into English Verse 

Ralph T. H. Griffith, M.A. 

Principal of the Benares College 
London: Triibner & Co. 

Benares: E. J. Lazarus and Co. 



Invocation 2 

Book 1 4 

Canto I. Narad 4 

Canto II. Brahma's Visit 19 

Canto III. The Argument 26 

Canto IV. The Rhapsodists 31 

Canto V. Ayodhya 35 

Canto VI. The King 38 

Canto VII. The Ministers 43 

Canto VIII. Sumantra's Speech 45 

Canto IX. Rishyasring 49 

Canto X. Rishyasring Invited 58 

Canto XI. The Sacrifice Decreed 62 

Canto XII. The Sacrifice Begun 65 

Canto XIII. The Sacrifice Finished 69 

Canto XIV. Ravan Doomed 79 

Canto XV. The Nectar 84 

Canto XVI. The Vanars 88 

Canto XVII. Rishyasring's Return 92 

Canto XVIII. Rishyasring's Departure 97 

Canto XIX. The Birth Of The Princes 100 

Canto XX. Visvamitra's Visit 105 

Canto XXI. Visvamitra's Speech 108 

Canto XXII. Dasaratha's Speech Ill 

Canto XXIII. Vasishtha's Speech 114 

Canto XXIV. The Spells 117 

Canto XXV. The Hermitage Of Love 120 

Canto XXVI. The Forest Of Tadaka 123 

Canto XXVII. The Birth Of Tadaka 128 

iv The Ramayana 

Canto XXVIII. The Death Of Tadaka 130 

Canto XXIX. The Celestial Arms 134 

Canto XXX. The Mysterious Powers 138 

Canto XXXI. The Perfect Hermitage 140 

Canto XXXII. Visvamitra's Sacrifice 144 

Canto XXXIII. The Sone 147 

Canto XXXIV. Brahmadatta 149 

Canto XXXV. Visvamitra's Lineage 156 

Canto XXXVI. The Birth Of Ganga 159 

Canto XXXIX. The Sons Of Sagar 162 

Canto XL. The Cleaving Of The Earth 165 

Canto XLI. Kapil 168 

Canto XLII. Sagar's Sacrifice 173 

Canto XLIII. Bhaglrath 176 

Canto XLIV. The Descent Of Ganga 179 

Canto XLV. The Quest Of The Amrit 186 

Canto XLVI. Diti's Hope 194 

Canto XLVII. Sumati 196 

Canto XLVIII. Indra And Ahalya 199 

Canto XLIX. Ahalya Freed 202 

Canto L. Janak 204 

Canto LI. Visvamitra 207 

Canto LII. Vasishtha's Feast 210 

Canto LIII. Visvamitra's Request 213 

Canto LIV. The Battle 217 

Canto LV. The Hermitage Burnt 220 

Canto LVI. Visvamitra's Vow 224 

Canto LVII. Trisanku 227 

Canto LVIII. Trisanku Cursed 230 

Canto LIX. The Sons Of Vasishtha 234 

Canto LX. Trisanku's Ascension 236 

Canto LXI. Sunahsepha 241 

Canto LXII. Ambarisha's Sacrifice 245 

Canto LXIII. Menaka 248 

Canto LXIV. Rambha 252 

Canto LXV. Visvamitra's Triumph 255 

Canto LXVI. Janak's Speech 259 

Canto LXVII. The Breaking Of The Bow 263 

Canto LXVIII. The Envoys' Speech 266 

Canto LXIX. Dasaratha's Visit 268 

Canto LXX. The Maidens Sought 270 

Canto LXXI. Janak's Pedigree 276 

Canto LXXII. The Gift Of Kine 279 

Canto LXXm. The Nuptials 281 

Canto LXXIV. Rama With The Axe 286 

Canto LXXV. The Parle 289 

Canto LXXVI. Debarred From Heaven 293 

Canto LXXVII. Bharat's Departure 296 

BOOK II 301 

Canto I. The Heir Apparent 301 

Canto II. The People's Speech 305 

Canto III. Dasaratha's Precepts 310 

Canto IV. Rama Summoned 316 

Canto V. Rama's Fast 322 

Canto VI. The City Decorated 325 

Canto VII. Manthara's Lament 328 

Canto VIII. Manthara's Speech 332 

Canto IX. The Plot 337 

Canto X. Dasaratha's Speech 344 

Canto XI. The Queen's Demand 349 

Canto XII. Dasaratha's Lament 352 

Canto XIII. Dasaratha's Distress 365 

Canto XIV. Rama Summoned 367 

Canto XV. The Preparations 375 

Canto XVI. Rama Summoned 381 

Canto XVII. Rama's Approach 387 

Canto XVIII. The Sentence 389 

Canto XIX. Rama's Promise 394 

vi The Ramayana 

Canto XX. Kausalya's Lament 399 

Canto XXI. Kausalya Calmed 405 

Canto XXII. Lakshman Calmed 413 

Canto XXIII. Lakshman's Anger 417 

Canto XXIV. Kausalya Calmed 422 

Canto XXV. Kausalya's Blessing 427 

Canto XXVI. Alone With Sita 433 

Canto XXVII. Sita's Speech 437 

Canto XXVIII. The Dangers Of The Wood 440 

Canto XXIX. Sita's Appeal 443 

Canto XXX. The Triumph Of Love 446 

Canto XXXI. Lakshman's Prayer 452 

Canto XXXII. The Gift Of The Treasures 456 

Canto XXXIII. The People's Lament 462 

Canto XXXIV. Rama In The Palace 465 

Canto XXXV. Kaikeyi Reproached 472 

Canto XXXVI. Siddharth's Speech 476 

Canto XXXVII. The Coats Of Bark 480 

Canto XXXVIII. Care For Kausalya 484 

Canto XXXIX. Counsel To Sita 486 

Canto XL. Rama's Departure 491 

Canto XLI. The Citizens' Lament 497 

Canto XLII. Dasaratha's Lament 500 

Canto XLIII. Kausalya's Lament 504 

Canto XLIV. Sumitra's Speech 507 

Canto XLV. The Tamasa 510 

Canto XLVI. The Halt 514 

Canto XLVII. The Citizens' Return 518 

Canto XLVIII. The Women's Lament 521 

Canto XLIX. The Crossing Of The Rivers 525 

Canto L. The Halt Under The Ingudi 527 

Canto LI. Lakshman's Lament 532 

Canto LII. The Crossing Of Ganga 534 

Canto LIII. Rama's Lament 547 


Canto LIV. Bharadvaja's Hermitage 551 

Canto LV. The Passage Of Yamuna 557 

Canto LVI. Chitrakiita 561 

Canto LVII. Sumantra's Return 566 

Canto LVIII. Rama's Message 570 

Canto LIX. Dasaratha's Lament 574 

Canto LX. Kausalya Consoled 579 

Canto LXI. Kausalya's Lament 582 

Canto LXII. Dasaratha Consoled 585 

Canto LXIII. The Hermit's Son 587 

Canto LXIV. Dasaratha's Death 593 

Canto LXV. The Women's Lament 602 

Canto LXVI. The Embalming 606 

Canto LXVII. The Praise Of Kings 608 

Canto LXVIII. The Envoys 612 

Canto LXIX. Bharat's Dream 617 

Canto LXX. Bharat's Departure 619 

Canto LXXI. Bharat's Return 623 

Canto LXXII. Bharat's Inquiry 628 

Canto LXXIII. Kaikeyi Reproached 635 

Canto LXXIV. Bharat's Lament 638 

Canto LXXV. The Abjuration 642 

Canto LXXVI. The Funeral 648 

Canto LXXVII. The Gathering Of The Ashes 651 

Canto LXXVIII. Manthara Punished 654 

Canto LXXIX. Bharat's Commands 657 

Canto LXXX. The Way Prepared 659 

Canto LXXXI. The Assembly 662 

Canto LXXXII. The Departure 665 

Canto LXXXIII. The Journey Begun 669 

Canto LXXXIV. Guha's Anger 672 

Canto LXXXV. Guha And Bharat 675 

Canto LXXXVI. Guha's Speech 678 

Canto LXXXVII. Guha's Story 680 

viii The Ramayana 

Canto LXXXVIII. The Ingudi Tree 683 

Canto LXXXIX. The Passage Of Ganga 687 

Canto XC. The Hermitage 689 

Canto XCI. Bharadvaja's Feast 692 

Canto XCII. Bharat's Farewell 702 

Canto XCIII. Chitrakiita In Sight 707 

Canto XCIV. Chitrakiita 710 

Canto XCV. Mandakini 714 

Canto XCVI. The Magic Shaft 716 

Canto XCVII. Lakshman's Anger 723 

Canto XCVIII. Lakshman Calmed 727 

Canto XCIX. Bharat's Approach 731 

Canto C. The Meeting 732 

Canto CI. Bharata Questioned 737 

Canto CII. Bharat's Tidings 740 

Canto CIII. The Funeral Libation 741 

Canto CIV. The Meeting With The Queens 747 

Canto CV. Rama's Speech 750 

Canto CVI. Bharat's Speech 755 

Canto CVII. Rama's Speech 759 

Canto CVIII. Javali's Speech 762 

Canto CIX. The Praises Of Truth 764 

Canto CX. The Sons Of Ikshvaku 770 

Canto CXI. Counsel To Bharat 774 

Canto CXII. The Sandals 778 

Canto CXIII. Bharat's Return 782 

Canto CXIV. Bharat's Departure 785 

Canto CXV. Nandigram 787 

Canto CXVI. The Hermit's Speech 790 

Canto CXVII. Anasiiya 793 

Canto CXVIII. Anasuya's Gifts 797 

Canto CXIX. The Forest 803 


Canto I. The Hermitage 807 


Canto II. Viradha 810 

Canto III. Viradha Attacked 813 

Canto IV. Viradha's Death 817 

Canto V. Sarabhanga 822 

Canto VI. Rama's Promise 828 

Canto VII. Sutfkshna 831 

Canto VIII. The Hermitage 835 

Canto IX. Sfta's Speech 838 

Canto X. Rama's Reply 842 

Canto XI. Agastya 845 

Canto XII. The Heavenly Bow 856 

Canto XIII. Agastya's Counsel 862 

Canto XIV. Jatayus 865 

Canto XV. Panchavati 870 

Canto XVI. Winter 875 

Canto XVII. Siirpanakha 880 

Canto XVIII. The Mutilation 884 

Canto XIX. The Rousing Of Khara 888 

Canto XX. The Giants' Death 891 

Canto XXI. The Rousing Of Khara 895 

Canto XXII. Khara's Wrath 897 

Canto XXIII. The Omens 900 

Canto XXIV. The Host In Sight 904 

Canto XXV. The Battle 910 

Canto XXVI. Dushan's Death 915 

Canto XXVII. The Death Of Trisiras 920 

Canto XXVIII. Khara Dismounted 923 

Canto XXIX. Khara's Defeat 927 

Canto XXX. Khara's Death 931 

Canto XXXI. Ravan 936 

Canto XXXII. Ravan Roused 944 

Canto XXXIII. Surpanakha's Speech 947 

Canto XXXIV. Surpanakha's Speech 951 

Canto XXXV. Ravan's Journey 954 

The Ramayana 

Canto XXXVI. Ravan's Speech 960 

Canto XXXVII. Maricha's Speech 963 

Canto XXXVIII. Maricha's Speech 966 

Canto XXXIX. Maricha's Speech 971 

Canto XL. Ravan's Speech 974 

Canto XLI. Maricha's Reply 978 

Canto XLII. Maricha Transformed 980 

Canto XLIII. The Wondrous Deer 985 

Canto XLIV. Maricha's Death 991 

Canto XLV. Lakshman's Departure 995 

Canto XLVI. The Guest 1000 

Canto XLVII. Ravan's Wooing 1005 

Canto XLVIII. Ravan's Speech 1011 

Canto XLIX. The Rape Of Sita 1014 

Canto L. Jatayus 1020 

Canto LI. The Combat 1023 

Canto LII. Ravan's Flight 1029 

Canto LIII. Sita's Threats 1035 

Canto LIV. Lanka 1038 

Canto LV. Sita In Prison 1042 

Canto LVI. Sita's Disdain 1047 

Canto LVII. Sita Comforted 1051 

Canto LVIII. The Brothers' Meeting 1055 

Canto LIX. Rama's Return 1058 

Canto LX. Lakshman Reproved 1061 

Canto LXI. Rama's Lament 1064 

Canto LXII. Rama's Lament 1069 

Canto LXIII. Rama's Lament 1073 

Canto LXIV. Rama's Lament 1075 

Canto LXV. Rama's Wrath 1079 

Canto LXVI. Lakshman's Speech 1088 

Canto LXVII. Rama Appeased 1090 

Canto LXVIII. Jatayus 1093 

Canto LXIX. The Death Of Jatayus 1097 


Canto LXX. Kabandha 1102 

Canto LXXI. Kabandha's Speech 1109 

Canto LXXII. Kabandha's Tale 1112 

Canto LXXIII. Kabandha's Counsel 1116 

Canto LXXIV. Kabandha's Death 1119 

Canto LXXV. Savari 1125 

Canto LXXVI. Pampa 1129 

BOOK IV 1134 

Canto I. Rama's Lament 1134 

Canto II. Sugriva's Alarm 1151 

Canto III. Hanuman's Speech 1155 

Canto IV. Lakshman's Reply 1160 

Canto V. The League 1166 

Canto VI. The Tokens 1170 

Canto VII. Rama Consoled 1174 

Canto VIII. Rama's Promise 1177 

Canto IX. Sugriva's Story 1183 

Canto X. Sugriva's Story 1186 

Canto XI. Dundubhi 1190 

Canto XII. The Palm Trees 1201 

Canto XIII. The Return To Kishkindha 1206 

Canto XIV. The Challenge 1210 

Canto XV. Tara 1212 

Canto XVI. The Fall Of Bali 1216 

Canto XVII. Bali's Speech 1220 

Canto XVIII. Rama's Reply 1228 

Canto XIX. Tara's Grief 1236 

Canto XX. Tara's Lament 1240 

Canto XXI. Hanuman's Speech 1243 

Canto XXII. Bali Dead 1245 

Canto XXIII. Tara's Lament 1250 

Canto XXIV. Sugriva's Lament 1254 

Canto XXV. Rama's Speech 1256 

Canto XXVI. The Coronation 1262 

xii The Ramayana 

Canto XXVII. Rama On The Hill 1267 

Canto XXVIII. The Rains 1272 

Canto XXIX. Hanuman's Counsel 1276 

Canto XXX. Rama's Lament 1280 

Canto XXXI. The Envoy 1284 

Canto XXXII. Hanuman's Counsel 1290 

Canto XXXIII. Lakshman's Entry 1292 

Canto XXXIV. Lakshman's Speech 1299 

Canto XXXV. Tara's Speech 1301 

Canto XXXVI. Sugrfva's Speech 1304 

Canto XXXVII. The Gathering 1306 

Canto XXXVIII. Sugrfva's Departure 1311 

Canto XXXIX. The Vanar Host 1314 

Canto XL. The Army Of The East 1318 

Canto XLI. The Army Of The South 1326 

Canto XLII. The Army Of The West 1331 

Canto XLIII. The Army Of The North 1336 

Canto XLIV. The Ring 1339 

Canto XLV. The Departure 1340 

Canto XLVI. Sugrfva's Tale 1342 

Canto XLVII. The Return 1344 

Canto XLVIII. The Asur's Death 1345 

Canto XLIX. Angad's Speech 1347 

Canto L. The Enchanted Cave 1349 

Canto LI. Svayamprabha 1351 

Canto LII. The Exit 1353 

Canto LIII. Angad's Counsel 1356 

Canto LIV. Hanuman's Speech 1358 

Canto LV. Angad's Reply 1360 

Canto LVI. Sampati 1363 

Canto LVII. Angad's Speech 1365 

Canto LVIII. Tidings Of Sfta 1367 

Canto LIX. Sampati's Story 1371 

Canto LX. Sampati's Story 1373 


Canto LXI. Sampati's Story 1375 

Canto LXII. Sampati's Story 1377 

Canto LXIII. Sampati's Story 1379 

Canto LXIV. The Sea 1381 

Canto LXV. The Council 1383 

Canto LXVI. Hanuman 1385 

Canto LXVII. Hanuman's Speech 1389 

BOOKV 1392 

Canto I. Hanuman's Leap 1392 

Canto II. Lanka 1402 

Canto III. The Guardian Goddess 1405 

Canto IV. Within The City 1407 

Canto VI. The Court 1409 

Canto VII. Ravan's Palace 1411 

Canto VIII. The Enchanted Car 1413 

Canto IX. The Ladies' Bower 1414 

Canto X. Ravan Asleep 1417 

Canto XI. The Banquet Hall 1419 

Canto XII. The Search Renewed 1420 

Canto XIII. Despair And Hope 1422 

Canto XIV. The Asoka Grove 1425 

Canto XV. SM 1426 

Canto XVI. Hanuman's Lament 1427 

Canto XVII. Sita's Guard 1429 

Canto XVIII. Ravan 1430 

Canto XIX. Sita's Fear 1432 

Canto XX. Ravan's Wooing 1433 

Canto XXI. Sita's Scorn 1436 

Canto XXII. Ravan's Threat 1438 

Canto XXIII. The Demons' Threats 1441 

Canto XXIV. Sita's Reply 1443 

Canto XXV. Sita's Lament 1444 

Canto XXVI. Sita's Lament 1446 

Canto XXVII. Trijata's Dream 1447 

xiv The Ramayana 

Canto XXX. Hanuman's Deliberation 1449 

Canto XXXI. Hanuman's Speech 1452 

Canto XXXII. Sita's Doubt 1453 

Canto XXXIII. The Colloquy 1454 

Canto XXXIV. Hanuman's Speech 1457 

Canto XXXV. Hanuman's Speech 1459 

Canto XXXVI. Rama's Ring 1460 

Canto XXXVII. Sita's Speech 1463 

Canto XXXVIII. Sita's Gem 1466 

Canto XLI. The Ruin Of The Grove 1468 

Canto XLII. The Giants Roused 1470 

Canto XLIII. The Ruin Of The Temple 1473 

Canto XLIV. Jambumali's Death 1474 

Canto XLV. The Seven Defeated 1476 

Canto XLVI. The Captains 1478 

Canto XLVII. The Death Of Aksha 1479 

Canto XLVIII. Hanuman Captured 1481 

Canto XLIX. Ravan 1483 

Canto L. Prahasta's Questions 1484 

Canto LI. Hanuman's Reply 1486 

Canto LII. Vibhishan's Speech 1488 

Canto LIII. The Punishment 1489 

Canto LIV. The Burning Of Lanka 1491 

Canto LV. Fear For Sita 1493 

Canto LVI. Mount Arishta 1495 

Canto LVII. Hanuman's Return 1496 

Canto LVIII. The Feast Of Honey 1498 

Canto LXV. The Tidings 1500 

Canto LXVI. Rama's Speech 1501 

BOOK VI 1504 

Canto I. Rama's Speech 1504 

Canto II. Sugriva's Speech 1505 

Canto III. Lanka 1506 

Canto IV. The March 1508 


Canto V. Rama's Lament 1515 

Canto VI. Ravan's Speech 1517 

Canto VII. Ravan Encouraged 1519 

Canto VIII. Prahasta's Speech 1521 

Canto IX. Vibhishan's Counsel 1524 

Canto X. Vibhishan's Counsel 1526 

Canto XI. The Summons 1529 

Canto XII. Ravan's Speech 1531 

Canto XIII. Ravan's Speech 1535 

Canto XIV. Vibhishan's Speech 1537 

Canto XV. Indrajit's Speech 1539 

Canto XVI. Ravan's Speech 1541 

Canto XVII. Vibhishan's Flight 1544 

Canto XVIII. Rama's Speech 1550 

Canto XIX. Vibhishan's Counsel 1553 

Canto XX. The Spies 1556 

Canto XXI. Ocean Threatened 1560 

Canto XXII. Ocean Threatened 1562 

Canto XXIII. The Omens 1569 

Canto XXIV. The Spy's Return 1570 

Canto XXV. Ravan's Spies 1574 

Canto XXVI. The Vanar Chiefs 1578 

Canto XXVII. The Vanar Chiefs 1581 

Canto XXVIII. The Chieftains 1583 

Canto XXIX. Sardula Captured 1585 

Canto XXX. Sardinia's Speech 1588 

Canto XXXI. The Magic Head 1589 

Canto XXXII. Sita's Lament 1592 

Canto XXXIII. Sarama 1596 

Canto XXXIV. Sarama's Tidings 1599 

Canto XXXV. Malyavan's Speech 1601 

Canto XXXVI. Ravan's Reply 1604 

Canto XXXVII. Preparations 1606 

Canto XXXVIII. The Ascent Of Suvela 1608 

xvi The Ramayana 

Canto XXXIX. Lanka 1610 

Canto XL. Ravan Attacked 1611 

Canto XLI. Rama's Envoy 1614 

Canto XLH. The Sally 1618 

Canto XLIII. The Single Combats 1620 

Canto XLIV. The Night 1622 

Canto XLV. Indrajit's Victory 1625 

Canto XLVI. Indrajit's Triumph 1626 

Canto XLVII. SM 1629 

Canto XLVIII. Sita's Lament 1631 

Canto XLIX. Rama's Lament 1634 

Canto L. The Broken Spell 1637 

Canto LI. Dhumraksha's Sally 1641 

Canto LII. Dhumraksha's Death 1643 

Canto LIII. Vajradanshtra's Sally 1646 

Canto LIV. Vajradanshtra's Death 1647 

Canto LIX. Ravan's Sally 1650 

Canto LX. Kumbhakarna Roused 1660 

Canto LXI. The Vanars' Alarm 1666 

Canto LXII. Ravan's Request 1668 

Canto LXIII. Kumbhakarna's Boast 1670 

Canto LXIV. Mahodar's Speech 1672 

Canto LXV. Kumbhakarna's Speech 1674 

Canto LXVI. Kumbhakarna's Sally 1676 

Canto LXVII. Kumbhakarna's Death 1678 

Canto LXVIII. Ravan's Lament 1687 

Canto LXIX. Narantak's Death 1689 

Canto LXX. The Death Of Trisiras 1692 

Canto LXXI. Atikaya's Death 1695 

Canto LXXII. Ravan's Speech 1700 

Canto LXXIII. Indrajit's Victory 1701 

Canto LXXIV. The Medicinal Herbs 1704 

Canto LXXV. The Night Attack 1708 

Canto XCIII. Ravan's Lament 1712 


Canto XCVI. Ravan's Sally 1715 

Canto C. Ravan In The Field 1717 

Canto CI. Lakshman's Fall 1720 

Canto CII. Lakshman Healed 1722 

Canto CIII. Indra's Car 1724 

Canto CVI. Glory To The Sun 1727 

Canto CVIII. The Battle 1730 

Canto CIX. The Battle 1731 

Canto CX. Ravan's Death 1733 

Canto CXI. Vibhishan's Lament 1734 

Canto CXII. The Rakshas Dames 1736 

Canto CXIII. Mandodarfs Lament 1737 

Canto CXIV. Vibhishan Consecrated 1741 

Canto CXV. Sita's Joy 1743 

Canto CXVI. The Meeting 1746 

Canto CXVII. Sita's Disgrace 1749 

Canto CXVIII. Sita's Reply 1750 

Canto CXIX. Glory To Vishnu 1753 

Canto CXX. Sita Restored 1755 

Canto CXXI. Dasaratha 1757 

Canto CXXII. Indra's Boon 1760 

Canto CXXIII. The Magic Car 1762 

Canto CXXIV. The Departure 1764 

Canto CXXV. The Return 1766 

Canto CXXVI. Bharat Consoled 1768 

Canto CXXVII. Rama's Message 1771 

Canto CXXVIII. Hanuman's Story 1774 

Canto CXXIX. The Meeting With Bharat 1775 

Canto CXXX. The Consecration 1780 


Section XIII. Ravan Doomed 1787 


ITATA 1790 

xviii The Ramayana 



XIV 1796 

Uttarakanda 1799 


Queen Fortune 1812 

Indra 1813 

Vishnu 1813 

Siva 1815 

Apsarases 1816 

Vishnu's Incarnation As Rama 1817 

Kusa and Lava 1820 

Parasurama, Page 87 1827 

Yama, Page 68 1828 

Fate, Page 68 1829 

Visvamitra, Page 76 1829 

Household Gods, Page 102 1829 

Page 107 1830 

Page 108 1833 

Page 109 1835 

Page 110 1835 

Page 120 1836 

Page 125 1836 

Page 125 1838 

Page 136 1838 

Page 152 1838 

Page 157 1840 

Page 161 1840 

Page 169 1841 

Page 174. The Praise Of Kings 1841 

Page 176. Salmah 1842 

Page 178. Bharat's Return 1843 

Page 183 1844 

Page 203 1844 


Page 219 1845 

Page 249 1849 

Page 250 1849 

Page 257 1849 

Page 286. Urvasi 1854 

Page 324 1856 

Page 326 1856 

Page 329. Rama's Alliance With Sugriva 1857 

Page 342. The Fall Of Bali 1858 

Page 370. The Vanar Host 1859 

Page 372 1861 

Page 374 1863 

Page 378. Northern Kurus 1866 

Page 428 U 

Page 431 U 

Page 434 1869 

Page 436 1869 

Page 452 1869 

Page 462 1870 

Page 466 1870 

Page 470 1871 

Page 497 1871 

Page 489 1872 

Page 489 1873 

Page 492. Ravan's Funeral 1879 

Page 496 1880 

Page 503. The Meeting 1883 

Final Notes 1885 


Footnotes 1921 


Invocation. 1 

Praise to Valmiki, 2 
bird of charming song, 3 

Who mounts on Poesy's sublimest spray, 
And sweetly sings with accent clear and strong 

Rama, aye Rama, in his deathless lay. 

Where breathes the man can listen to the strain 
That flows in music from Valmfki's tongue, 

Nor feel his feet the path of bliss attain 
When Rama's glory by the saint is sung ! 

The MSS. vary very considerably in these stanzas of invocation: many lines 
are generally prefixed in which not only the poet, but those who play the chief 
parts in the poem are panegyrized. It is self-apparent that they are not by the 
author of the Ramayan himself. 

2 "Valmiki was the son of Varuna, the regent of the waters, one of whose 
names is Prachetas. According to the Adhydtmd Rdmdyana, the sage, although 
a Brahman by birth, associated with foresters and robbers. Attacking on one 
occasion the seven Rishis, they expostulated with him successfully, and taught 
him the mantra of Rama reversed, or Mara, Mara, in the inaudible repetition of 
which he remained immovable for thousands of years, so that when the sages 
returned to the same spot they found him still there, converted into a valmik or 
ant-hill, by the nests of the termites, whence his name of Valmiki." 

WILSONJFNS. Specimens of the Hindu Theatre, Vol. I. p. 313. 

"Valmiki is said to have lived a solitary life in the woods: he is called both 
a muni and a rishi. The former word properly signifies an anchorite or hermit; 
the latter has reference chiefly to wisdom. The two words are frequently used 
promiscuously, and may both be rendered by the Latin vates in its earliest 
meaning of seer. Valmiki was both poet and seer, as he is said to have sung 
the exploits of Rama by the aid of divining insight rather than of knowledge 
naturally acquired." SCHLEGEL{FNS. 

3 Literally, Kokila, the Koi'l, or Indian Cuckoo. Schlegel translates "luscini- 


The stream Ramayan leaves its sacred fount 

The whole wide world from sin and stain to free. 4 

The Prince of Hermits is the parent mount, 
The lordly Rama is the darling sea. 

Glory to him whose fame is ever bright! 
Glory to him, Prachetas' 5 holy son! 
Whose pure lips quaff with ever new delight 
The nectar-sea of deeds by Rama done. 

Hail, arch-ascetic, pious, good, and kind! 

Hail, Saint Valmfki, lord of every lore! 
Hail, holy Hermit, calm and pure of mind! 

Hail, First of Bards, Valmfki, hail once more! 

Comparison with the Ganges is implied, that river being called the purifier 
of the world. 

5 "This name may have been given to the father of Valmfki allegorically. If 
we look at the derivation of the word (pra, before, and chetas, mind) it is as if 
the poet were called the son of Prometheus, the Forethinker." SCHLEGEL{FNS. 

Book I. 6 

Canto I. Narad. 7 

OM. 8 

To sainted Narad, prince of those 
Whose lore in words of wisdom flows. 
Whose constant care and chief delight 
Were Scripture and ascetic rite, 
[002] The good Valmfki, first and best 

Of hermit saints, these words addressed: 5 
"In all this world, I pray thee, who 
Is virtuous, heroic, true? 
Firm in his vows, of grateful mind, 
To every creature good and kind? 
Bounteous, and holy, just, and wise, 
Alone most fair to all men's eyes? 
Devoid of envy, firm, and sage, 

6 Called in Sanskrit also Bdla-Kdnda, and in Hindi Bdl-Kdnd, i.e. the Book 
describing Rama's childhood, bdla meaning a boy up to his sixteenth year. 

7 A divine saint, son of Brahma. He is the eloquent messenger of the Gods, 
a musician of exquisite skill, and the inventor of the vind or Indian lute. He 
bears a strong resemblance to Hermes or Mercury. 

8 This mystic syllable, said to typify the supreme Deity, the Gods collectively, 
the Vedas, the three spheres of the world, the three holy fires, the three steps of 
Vishnu etc., prefaces the prayers and most venerated writings of the Hindus. 

9 This colloquy is supposed to have taken place about sixteen years after 
Rama's return from his wanderings and occupation of his ancestral throne. 

Canto I. Narad. 

Whose tranquil soul ne'er yields to rage? 
Whom, when his warrior wrath is high, 
Do Gods embattled fear and fly? 
Whose noble might and gentle skill 
The triple world can guard from ill? 
Who is the best of princes, he 
Who loves his people's good to see? 
The store of bliss, the living mine 
Where brightest joys and virtues shine? 
Queen Fortune's 10 best and dearest friend, 
Whose steps her choicest gifts attend? 
Who may with Sun and Moon compare, 
With Indra, 11 Vishnu, 12 Fire, and Air? 
Grant, Saint divine, 13 the boon I ask, 
For thee, I ween, an easy task, 
To whom the power is given to know 
If such a man breathe here below." 
Then Narad, clear before whose eye 
The present, past, and future lie, 14 

Called also Sri and Lakshmf, the consort of Vishnu, the Queen of Beauty as 
well as the Dea Fortuna. Her birth "from the full-flushed wave" is described in 
Canto XLV of this Book. 

11 One of the most prominent objects of worship in the Rig-veda, Indra was 
superseded in later times by the more popular deities Vishnu and Siva. He is 
the God of the firmament, and answers in many respects to the Jupiter Pluvius 
of the Romans. See Additional Notes. 

12 The second God of the Trimurti or Indian Trinity. Derived from the root 
vis to penetrate, the meaning of the name appears to be he who penetrates or 
pervades all things. An embodiment of the preserving power of nature, he is 
worshipped as a Saviour who has nine times been incarnate for the good of the 
world and will descend on earth once more. See Additional Notes and Muir's 
Sanskrit Texts passim. 

13 In Sanskrit devarshi. Rishi is the general appellation of sages, and another 
word is frequently prefixed to distinguish the degrees. A Brahmarshi is a 
theologian or Brahmanical sage; a Rajarshi is a royal sage or sainted king; a 
Devarshi is a divine or deified sage or saint. 

14 Trikdlajna. Literally knower of the three times. Both Schlegel and Gorresio 

The Ramayana 

Made ready answer: "Hermit, where 
Are graces found so high and rare? 
Yet listen, and my tongue shall tell 
In whom alone these virtues dwell. 
From old Ikshvaku's 15 line he came, 
Known to the world by Rama's name: 
With soul subdued, a chief of might, 
In Scripture versed, in glory bright, 
His steps in virtue's paths are bent, 
Obedient, pure, and eloquent. 
In each emprise he wins success, 
And dying foes his power confess. 
Tall and broad-shouldered, strong of limb, 
Fortune has set her mark on him. 
Graced with a conch-shell's triple line, 
[003] His throat displays the auspicious sign. 16 

futurorum eventuum in unguibus atque etiam in dentibus." Though the palmy 
days of Indian chiromancy have passed away, the art is still to some extent 
studied and believed in. 
quote Homer's. 

"0 c, fj5r| t' kovza, rd t' koo6\i£va, 
Ttpo t' eovtol 

"That sacred seer, whose comprehensive view, 
The past, the present, and the future knew." 

The Bombay edition reads trilokajha, who knows the three worlds (earth, 
air and heaven.) "It is by tapas (austere fervour) that rishis of subdued souls, 
subsisting on roots, fruits and air, obtain a vision of the three worlds with all 
things moving and stationary." MANU{FNS, XI. 236. 

15 Son of Manu, the first king of Kosala and founder of the solar dynasty or 
family of the Children of the Sun, the God of that luminary being the father of 

16 The Indians paid great attention to the art of physiognomy and believed that 
character and fortune could be foretold not from the face only but from marks 
upon the neck and hands. Three lines under the chin like those at the mouth of 
a conch (Saiikha) were regarded as a peculiarly auspicious sign indicating, as 
did also the mark of Vishnu's discus on the hand, one born to be a chakravartin 

Canto I. Narad. 

High destiny is clear impressed 

On massive jaw and ample chest, 

His mighty shafts he truly aims, 

And foemen in the battle tames. 

Deep in the muscle, scarcely shown, 

Embedded lies his collar-bone. 

His lordly steps are firm and free, 

His strong arms reach below his knee; 17 

All fairest graces join to deck 

His head, his brow, his stately neck, 

And limbs in fair proportion set: 

The manliest form e'er fashioned yet. 

Graced with each high imperial mark, 

His skin is soft and lustrous dark. 

Large are his eyes that sweetly shine 

With majesty almost divine. 

His plighted word he ne'er forgets; 

On erring sense a watch he sets. 

By nature wise, his teacher's skill 

Has trained him to subdue his will. 

Good, resolute and pure, and strong, 

He guards mankind from scathe and wrong, 

And lends his aid, and ne'er in vain, 

The cause of justice to maintain. 

Well has he studied o'er and o'er 

or universal emperor. In the palmistry of Europe the line of fortune, as well 

as the line of life, is in the hand. Cardan says that marks on the nails and 
teeth also show what is to happen to us: "Sunt etiam in nobis vestigia quaedam 

17 Long arms were regarded as a sign of heroic strength. 

8 The Ramayana 

The Vedas 18 and their kindred lore. 
Well skilled is he the bow to draw, 19 
Well trained in arts and versed in law; 
High-souled and meet for happy fate, 
Most tender and compassionate; 
The noblest of all lordly givers, 
Whom good men follow, as the rivers 
Follow the King of Floods, the sea: 
So liberal, so just is he. 

18 "Veda means originally knowing or knowledge, and this name is given by 
the Brahmans not to one work, but to the whole body of their most ancient 
sacred literature. Veda is the same word which appears in the Greek oi5a, I 
know, and in the English wise, wisdom, to wit. The name of Veda is commonly 
given to four collections of hymns, which are respectively known by the names 
of Rig-veda, Yajur-veda, Sama-veda, and Atharva-veda." 

"As the language of the Veda, the Sanskrit, is the most ancient type of the 
English of the present day, (Sanskrit and English are but varieties of one and 
the same language,) so its thoughts and feelings contain in reality the first roots 
and germs of that intellectual growth which by an unbroken chain connects our 
own generation with the ancestors of the Aryan race, — with those very people 
who at the rising and setting of the sun listened with trembling hearts to the 
songs of the Veda, that told them of bright powers above, and of a life to come 
after the sun of their own lives had set in the clouds of the evening. These men 
were the true ancestors of our race, and the Veda is the oldest book we have in 
which to study the first beginnings of our language, and of all that is embodied 
in language. We are by nature Aryan, Indo-European, not Semitic: our spiritual 
kith and kin are to be found in India, Persia, Greece, Italy, Germany: not in 
Mesopotamia, Egypt, or Palestine." 

Chips from a German Workshop, Vol. I. pp. 8. 4. 

19 As with the ancient Persians and Scythians, Indian princes were carefully 

Canto I. Narad. 9 

The joy of Queen Kausalya's 20 heart, 
In every virtue he has part: 
Firm as Himalaya's 21 snowy steep, 
Unfathomed like the mighty deep: 
The peer of Vishnu's power and might, 
And lovely as the Lord of Night; 22 
Patient as Earth, but, roused to ire, 
Fierce as the world-destroying fire; 
In bounty like the Lord of Gold, 23 
And Justice self in human mould. 

With him, his best and eldest son, 
By all his princely virtues won 
King Dasaratha 24 willed to share 
His kingdom as the Regent Heir. 
But when Kaikeyi, youngest queen, 
With eyes of envious hate had seen 
The solemn pomp and regal state 
Prepared the prince to consecrate, 
She bade the hapless king bestow 
Two gifts he promised long ago, 
That Rama to the woods should flee, 
And that her child the heir should be. 

By chains of duty firmly tied, 
The wretched king perforce complied. [004] 

instructed in archery which stands for military science in general, of which, 
among Hindu heroes, it was the most important branch. 

20 Chief of the three queens of Dasaratha and mother of Rama. 

21 From hima snow, (Greek XEip-wv, Latin hiems) and dlaya abode, the 
Mansion of snow. 

22 The moon (Soma, Indu, Chandra etc.) is masculine with the Indians as with 
the Germans. 

23 Kuvera, the Indian Plutus, or God of Wealth. 

24 The events here briefly mentioned will be related fully in the course of the 
poem. The first four cantos are introductory, and are evidently the work of a 
later hand than Valmiki's. 

10 The Ramayana 

Rama, to please Kaikeyi went 

Obedient forth to banishment. 

Then Lakshman's truth was nobly shown, 

Then were his love and courage known, 

When for his brother's sake he dared 

All perils, and his exile shared. 

And Sita, Rama's darling wife, 

Loved even as he loved his life, 

Whom happy marks combined to bless, 

A miracle of loveliness, 

Of Janak's royal lineage sprung, 

Most excellent of women, clung 

To her dear lord, like Rohini 

Rejoicing with the Moon to be. 

The King and people, sad of mood, 

The hero's car awhile pursued. 

But when Prince Rama lighted down 

At Sringavera's pleasant town, 

Where Ganga's holy waters flow, 

25 "Chandra, or the Moon, is fabled to have been married to the twenty-seven 
daughters of the patriarch Daksha, or Asvini and the rest, who are in fact 
personifications of the Lunar Asterisms. His favourite amongst them was 
Rohini to whom he so wholly devoted himself as to neglect the rest. They 
complained to their father, and Daksha repeatedly interposed, till, finding his 
remonstrances vain, he denounced a curse upon his son-in-law, in consequence 
of which he remained childless and became affected by consumption. The 
wives of Chandra having interceded in his behalf with their father, Daksha 
modified an imprecation which he could not recall, and pronounced that the 
decay should be periodical only, not permanent, and that it should alternate 
with periods of recovery. Hence the successive wane and increase of the Moon. 
Padma, Purdna, Swarga-Khanda, Sec. II. Rohini in Astronomy is the fourth 
lunar mansion, containing five stars, the principal of which is Aldebaran." 
WlLSON{FNS, Specimens of the Hindu Theatre. Vol. I. p. 234. 
The Bengal recension has a different reading: 

"Shone with her husband like the light 
Attendant on the Lord of Night." 

Canto I. Narad. 1 1 

He bade his driver turn and go. 

Guha, Nishadas' king, he met, 

And on the farther bank was set. 

Then on from wood to wood they strayed, 

O'er many a stream, through constant shade, 

As Bharadvaja bade them, till 

They came to Chitrakuta's hill. 

And Rama there, with Lakshman's aid, 

A pleasant little cottage made, 

And spent his days with Sita, dressed 

In coat of bark and deerskin vest. 26 

And Chitrakuta grew to be 

As bright with those illustrious three 

As Meru's 27 sacred peaks that shine 

With glory, when the Gods recline 

Beneath them: Siva's 28 self between 

The Lord of Gold and Beauty's Queen. 

26 The garb prescribed for ascetics by Manu. 

27 "Mount Meru, situated like Kailasa in the lofty regions to the north of the 
Himalayas, is celebrated in the traditions and myths of India. Meru and Kailasa 
are the two Indian Olympi. Perhaps they were held in such veneration be- 
cause the Sanskrit-speaking Indians remembered the ancient home where they 
dwelt with the other primitive peoples of their family before they descended 
to occupy the vast plains which extend between the Indus and the Ganges." 

28 The third God of the Indian Triad, the God of destruction and reproduction. 
See Additional Notes. 

12 The Ramayana 

The aged king for Rama pined, 
And for the skies the earth resigned. 
Bharat, his son, refused to reign, 
Though urged by all the twice-born 29 train. 
Forth to the woods he fared to meet 
His brother, fell before his feet, 
And cried, "Thy claim all men allow: 
O come, our lord and king be thou." 
But Rama nobly chose to be 
Observant of his sire's decree. 
He placed his sandals 30 in his hand 
A pledge that he would rule the land: 
And bade his brother turn again. 
Then Bharat, finding prayer was vain, 
The sandals took and went away; 
Nor in Ayodhya would he stay. 
But turned to Nandigrama, where 
He ruled the realm with watchful care, 
Still longing eagerly to learn 
Tidings of Rama's safe return. 

Then lest the people should repeat 
Their visit to his calm retreat, 
Away from Chitrakuta's hill 
[005] Fared Rama ever onward till 

29 The epithet dwija, or twice-born, is usually appropriate to Brahmans, but 
is applicable to the three higher castes. Investiture with the sacred thread and 
initiation of the neophyte into certain religious mysteries are regarded as his 
regeneration or second birth. 

30 His shoes to be a memorial of the absent heir and to maintain his right. 
Kalidasa (Raghuvarisa, XII. 17.) says that they were to be adhidevate or 
guardian deities of the kingdom. 

Canto I. Narad. 13 

Beneath the shady trees he stood 
Of Dandaka's primeval wood, 
Viradha, giant fiend, he slew, 
And then Agastya's friendship knew. 
Counselled by him he gained the sword 
And bow of Indra, heavenly lord: 
A pair of quivers too, that bore 
Of arrows an exhaustless store. 
While there he dwelt in greenwood shade 
The trembling hermits sought his aid, 
And bade him with his sword and bow 
Destroy the fiends who worked them woe: 
To come like Indra strong and brave, 
A guardian God to help and save. 
And Rama's falchion left its trace 
Deep cut on Surpanakha's face: 
A hideous giantess who came 
Burning for him with lawless flame. 
Their sister's cries the giants heard. 
And vengeance in each bosom stirred: 
The monster of the triple head. 
And Dushan to the contest sped. 
But they and myriad fiends beside 
Beneath the might of Rama died. 

When Ravan, dreaded warrior, knew 
The slaughter of his giant crew: 
Ravan, the king, whose name of fear 
Earth, hell, and heaven all shook to hear: 
He bade the fiend Maricha aid 
The vengeful plot his fury laid. 
In vain the wise Maricha tried 
To turn him from his course aside: 
Not Ravan's self, he said, might hope 

14 The Ramayana 

With Rama and his strength to cope. 

Impelled by fate and blind with rage 

He came to Rama's hermitage. 

There, by Marietta's magic art, 

He wiled the princely youths apart, 

The vulture 31 slew, and bore away 

The wife of Rama as his prey. 

The son of Raghu 32 came and found 

Jatayu slain upon the ground. 

He rushed within his leafy cot; 

He sought his wife, but found her not. 

Then, then the hero's senses failed; 

In mad despair he wept and wailed. 

Upon the pile that bird he laid, 

And still in quest of Sita strayed. 

A hideous giant then he saw, 

Kabandha named, a shape of awe. 

The monstrous fiend he smote and slew, 

And in the flame the body threw; 

When straight from out the funeral flame 

In lovely form Kabandha came, 

And bade him seek in his distress 

A wise and holy hermitess. 

By counsel of this saintly dame 

To Pampa's pleasant flood he came, 

And there the steadfast friendship won 

Of Hanuman the Wind-God's son. 

Counselled by him he told his grief 

31 Jatayu, a semi-divine bird, the friend of Rama, who fought in defence of 

32 Raghu was one of the most celebrated ancestors of Rama whose commonest 
appellation is, therefore, Raghava or descendant of Raghu. Kalidasa in the 
Raghuransa makes him the son of Dilipa and great-grandfather of Rama. See 
Idylls from the Sanskrit, "Aja" and "Dilipa." 

Canto I. Narad. 15 

To great Sugriva, Vanar chief, 
Who, knowing all the tale, before 
The sacred flame alliance swore. 
Sugriva to his new-found friend 
Told his own story to the end: 
His hate of Bali for the wrong 
And insult he had borne so long. 
And Rama lent a willing ear 
And promised to allay his fear. 
Sugriva warned him of the might 
Of Bali, matchless in the fight, 
And, credence for his tale to gain, 
Showed the huge fiend 33 by Bali slain. 
The prostrate corse of mountain size 
Seemed nothing in the hero's eyes; 
He lightly kicked it, as it lay, 
And cast it twenty leagues 34 away. 
To prove his might his arrows through 
Seven palms in line, uninjured, flew. 
He cleft a mighty hill apart, 
And down to hell he hurled his dart. 
Then high Sugriva's spirit rose, 
Assured of conquest o'er his foes. 
With his new champion by his side 
To vast Kishkindha's cave he hied. 
Then, summoned by his awful shout, 
King Bali came in fury out, 
First comforted his trembling wife, 
Then sought Sugriva in the strife. 
One shaft from Rama's deadly bow 
The monarch in the dust laid low. 

34 Literally ten yojanas. The yojana is a measure of uncertain length variously 
reckoned as equal to nine miles, five, and a little less. 

16 The Ramayana 

Then Rama bade Sugriva reign 
In place of royal Bali slain. 
Then speedy envoys hurried forth 
Eastward and westward, south and north, 
Commanded by the grateful king 
Tidings of Rama's spouse to bring. 

Then by Sampati's counsel led, 
Brave Hanuman, who mocked at dread, 
Sprang at one wild tremendous leap 
Two hundred leagues across the deep. 
To Lanka's 35 town he urged his way, 
[006] Where Ravan held his royal sway. 

There pensive 'neath Asoka 36 boughs 

He found poor SM, Rama's spouse. 

He gave the hapless girl a ring, 

A token from her lord and king. 

A pledge from her fair hand he bore; 

Then battered down the garden door. 

Five captains of the host he slew, 

Seven sons of councillors o'erthrew; 

Crushed youthful Aksha on the field, 

Then to his captors chose to yield. 

Soon from their bonds his limbs were free, 

But honouring the high decree 

Which Brahma 37 had pronounced of yore, 

35 Ceylon. 

36 The Jonesia Asoka is a most beautiful tree bearing a profusion of red 

37 Brahma, the Creator, is usually regarded as the first God of the Indian 
Trinity, although, as Kalidasa says: 

"Of Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, each may be 
First, second, third, amid the blessed Three." 

Brahma had guaranteed Ravan's life against all enemies except man. 

Canto I. Narad. 17 

He calmly all their insults bore. 
The town he burnt with hostile flame, 
And spoke again with Rama's dame, 
Then swiftly back to Rama flew 
With tidings of the interview. 

Then with Sugriva for his guide, 
Came Rama to the ocean side. 
He smote the sea with shafts as bright 
As sunbeams in their summer height, 
And quick appeared the Rivers' King 38 
Obedient to the summoning. 
A bridge was thrown by Nala o'er 
The narrow sea from shore to shore. 39 
They crossed to Lanka's golden town, 
Where Rama's hand smote Ravan down. 
Vibhishan there was left to reign 
Over his brother's wide domain. 
To meet her husband Sita came; 
But Rama, stung with ire and shame, 
With bitter words his wife addressed 
Before the crowd that round her pressed. 
But Sita, touched with noble ire, 
Gave her fair body to the fire. 
Then straight the God of Wind appeared, 
And words from heaven her honour cleared. 
And Rama clasped his wife again, 
Uninjured, pure from spot and stain, 
Obedient to the Lord of Fire 
And the high mandate of his sire. 
Led by the Lord who rules the sky, 

38 Ocean personified. 

39 The rocks lying between Ceylon and the mainland are still called Rama's 
Bridge by the Hindus. 

1 8 The Ramayana 

The Gods and heavenly saints drew nigh, 
And honoured him with worthy meed, 
Rejoicing in each glorious deed. 
His task achieved, his foe removed, 
He triumphed, by the Gods approved. 
By grace of Heaven he raised to life 
The chieftains slain in mortal strife; 
Then in the magic chariot through 
The clouds to Nandigrama flew. 
Met by his faithful brothers there, 
He loosed his votive coil of hair: 
Thence fair Ayodhya's town he gained, 
And o'er his father's kingdom reigned. 
Disease or famine ne'er oppressed 
His happy people, richly blest 
With all the joys of ample wealth, 
Of sweet content and perfect health. 
No widow mourned her well-loved mate, 
No sire his son's untimely fate. 
They feared not storm or robber's hand; 
No fire or flood laid waste the land: 
The Golden Age 40 had come again 

To bless the days of Rama's reign. 

From him, the great and glorious king, 
Shall many a princely scion spring. 
And he shall rule, beloved by men, 

40 "The Brahmans, with a system rather cosmogonical than chronological, 
divide the present mundane period into four ages or yugas as they call them: 
the Krita, the Treta, the Dwapara, and the Kali. The Krita, called also the 
Deva-yuga or that of the Gods, is the age of truth, the perfect age, the Treta is 
the age of the three sacred fires, domestic and sacrificial; the Dwapara is the 
age of doubt; the Kali, the present age, is the age of evil." GORRESIO.{FNS 

Canto II. Brahma's Visit 19 

Ten thousand years and hundreds ten, 41 
And when his life on earth is past 
To Brahma's world shall go at last." 

Whoe'er this noble poem reads 
That tells the tale of Rama's deeds, 
Good as the Scriptures, he shall be 
From every sin and blemish free. 
Whoever reads the saving strain, 
With all his kin the heavens shall gain. 
Brahmans who read shall gather hence 
The highest praise for eloquence. 
The warrior, o'er the land shall reign, 
The merchant, luck in trade obtain; 
And Sudras listening 42 ne'er shall fail 
To reap advantage from the tale. 43 


Canto II. Brahma's Visit 

41 The ancient kings of India enjoyed lives of more than patriarchal length as 
will appear in the course of the poem. 

42 Sudras, men of the fourth and lowest pure caste, were not allowed to read 
the poem, but might hear it recited. 

43 The three slokes or distichs which these twelve lines represent are evidently 
a still later and very awkward addition to the introduction. 

20 The Ramayana 

Valmfki, graceful speaker, heard, 

To highest admiration stirred. 

To him whose fame the tale rehearsed 

He paid his mental worship first; 

Then with his pupil humbly bent 

Before the saint most eloquent. 

Thus honoured and dismissed the seer 

Departed to his heavenly sphere. 

Then from his cot Valmfki hied 

To Tamasa's 44 sequestered side, 

Not far remote from Ganga's tide. 

He stood and saw the ripples roll 

Pellucid o'er a pebbly shoal. 

To Bharadvaja 45 by his side 

He turned in ecstasy, and cried: 

"See, pupil dear, this lovely sight, 

The smooth-floored shallow, pure and bright, 

With not a speck or shade to mar, 

And clear as good men's bosoms are. 

Here on the brink thy pitcher lay, 

And bring my zone of bark, I pray. 

Here will I bathe: the rill has not, 

To lave the limbs, a fairer spot. 

Do quickly as I bid, nor waste 

The precious time; away, and haste." 

44 There are several rivers in India of this name, now corrupted into Tonse. 
The river here spoken of is that which falls into the Ganges a little below 

45 "In Book II, Canto LIV, we meet with a saint of this name presiding 
over a convent of disciples in his hermitage at the confluence of the Ganges 
and the Jumna. Thence the later author of these introductory cantos has 
borrowed the name and person, inconsistently indeed, but with the intention of 
enhancing the dignity of the poet by ascribing to him so celebrated a disciple." 

Canto II. Brahma's Visit 21 

Obedient to his master's hest 
Quick from the cot he brought the vest; 
The hermit took it from his hand, 
And tightened round his waist the band; 
Then duly dipped and bathed him there, 
And muttered low his secret prayer. 
To spirits and to Gods he made 
Libation of the stream, and strayed 
Viewing the forest deep and wide 
That spread its shade on every side. 
Close by the bank he saw a pair 
Of curlews sporting fearless there. 
But suddenly with evil mind 
An outcast fowler stole behind, 
And, with an aim too sure and true, 
The male bird near the hermit slew. 
The wretched hen in wild despair 
With fluttering pinions beat the air, 
And shrieked a long and bitter cry 
When low on earth she saw him lie, 
Her loved companion, quivering, dead, 
His dear wings with his lifeblood red; 
And for her golden crested mate 
She mourned, and was disconsolate. 

The hermit saw the slaughtered bird, 
And all his heart with ruth was stirred. 
The fowler's impious deed distressed 
His gentle sympathetic breast, 
And while the curlew's sad cries rang 
Within his ears, the hermit sang: 
"No fame be thine for endless time, 
Because, base outcast, of thy crime, 
Whose cruel hand was fain to slay 

22 The Ramayana 

One of this gentle pair at play!" 
E'en as he spoke his bosom wrought 
And laboured with the wondering thought 
What was the speech his ready tongue 
Had uttered when his heart was wrung. 
He pondered long upon the speech, 
Recalled the words and measured each, 
And thus exclaimed the saintly guide 
To Bharadvaja by his side: 
"With equal lines of even feet, 
With rhythm and time and tone complete, 
The measured form of words I spoke 
In shock of grief be termed a sloke." 46 
And Bharadvaja, nothing slow 
His faithful love and zeal to show, 
Answered those words of wisdom, "Be 
The name, my lord, as pleases thee." 

As rules prescribe the hermit took 
Some lustral water from the brook. 
But still on this his constant thought 
Kept brooding, as his home he sought; 
While Bharadvaja paced behind, 
A pupil sage of lowly mind, 
And in his hand a pitcher bore 
With pure fresh water brimming o'er. 
Soon as they reached their calm retreat 
The holy hermit took his seat; 
His mind from worldly cares recalled, 
And mused in deepest thought enthralled. 

46 The poet plays upon the similarity in sound of the two words: soka, means 
grief, sloka, the heroic measure in which the poem is composed. It need 
scarcely be said that the derivation is fanciful. 

Canto II. Brahma's Visit 23 

Then glorious Brahma, 47 Lord Most High, 
Creator of the earth and sky, [008] 

The four-faced God, to meet the sage 
Came to Valmfki's hermitage. 
Soon as the mighty God he saw, 
Up sprang the saint in wondering awe. 
Mute, with clasped hands, his head he bent, 
And stood before him reverent. 
His honoured guest he greeted well, 
Who bade him of his welfare tell; 
Gave water for his blessed feet, 
Brought offerings, 48 and prepared a seat. 
In honoured place the God Most High 
Sate down, and bade the saint sit nigh. 
There sate before Valmfki's eyes 
The Father of the earth and skies; 
But still the hermit's thoughts were bent 
On one thing only, all intent 
On that poor curlew's mournful fate 
Lamenting for her slaughtered mate; 
And still his lips, in absent mood, 
The verse that told his grief, renewed: 

47 Brahma, the Creator, is usually regarded as the first person of the divine 
triad of India. The four heads with which he is represented are supposed to 
have allusion to the four corners of the earth which he is sometimes considered 
to personify. As an object of adoration Brahma has been entirely superseded 
by Siva and Vishnu. In the whole of India there is, I believe, but one temple 
dedicated to his worship. In this point the first of the Indian triad curiously 
resembles the last of the divine fraternity of Greece, Aides the brother of Zeus 
and Poseidon. "In all Greece, says Pausanias, there is no single temple of 
Aides, except at a single spot in Elis." See Gladstone's Juventus Mundi, p. 253. 

48 The argha or arghya was a libation or offering to a deity, a Brahman, or 
other venerable personage. According to one authority it consisted of water, 
milk, the points of Kiisa-grass, curds, clarified butter, rice, barley, and white 
mustard, according to another, of saffron, bel, unbroken grain, flowers, curds, 
diirba-grass, kiisa-grass, and sesamum. 

24 The Ramayana 

"Woe to the fowler's impious hand 
That did the deed that folly planned; 
That could to needless death devote 
The curlew of the tuneful throat!" 

The heavenly Father smiled in glee, 
And said, "O best of hermits, see, 
A verse, unconscious, thou hast made; 
No longer be the task delayed. 
Seek not to trace, with labour vain, 
The unpremeditated strain. 
The tuneful lines thy lips rehearsed 
Spontaneous from thy bosom burst. 
Then come, O best of seers, relate 
The life of Rama good and great, 
The tale that saintly Narad told, 
In all its glorious length unfold. 
Of all the deeds his arm has done 
Upon this earth, omit not one, 
And thus the noble life record 
Of that wise, brave, and virtuous lord. 
His every act to day displayed, 
His secret life to none betrayed: 
How Lakshman, how the giants fought; 
With high emprise and hidden thought: 
And all that Janak's child 49 befell 
Where all could see, where none could tell. 
The whole of this shall truly be 
Made known, O best of saints, to thee. 
In all thy poem, through my grace, 
No word of falsehood shall have place. 
Begin the story, and rehearse 
The tale divine in charming verse. 

49 Sita, daughter of Janak king of Mithila. 

Canto II. Brahma's Visit 25 

As long as in this firm-set land 
The streams shall flow, the mountains stand, 
So long throughout the world, be sure, 
The great Ramayan shall endure. 50 
While the Ramayan's ancient strain 
Shall glorious in the earth remain, 
To higher spheres shalt thou arise 
And dwell with me above the skies." 

He spoke, and vanished into air, 
And left Valmfki wondering there. 
The pupils of the holy man, 
Moved by their love of him, began 
To chant that verse, and ever more 
They marvelled as they sang it o'er: 
"Behold, the four-lined balanced rime, 
Repeated over many a time, 
In words that from the hermit broke 
In shock of grief, becomes a sloke." 
This measure now Valmfki chose 
Wherein his story to compose. 
In hundreds of such verses, sweet 
With equal lines and even feet, 
The saintly poet, lofty-souled, 
The glorious deeds of Rama told. 

50 "I congratulate myself," says Schlegel in the preface to his, alas, unfinished 
edition of the Ramayan, "that, by the favour of the Supreme Deity, I have been 
allowed to begin so great a work; I glory and make my boast that I too after so 
many ages have helped to confirm that ancient oracle declared to Valmfki by 
the Father of Gods and men: 

Dum stabunt montes, campis dum flumina current, 
Usque tuum toto carmen celebrabitur orbe." 

26 The Ramayana 

Canto III. The Argument. 

The hermit thus with watchful heed 
Received the poem's pregnant seed, 
And looked with eager thought around 
[009] If fuller knowledge might be found. 

His lips with water first bedewed, 51 
He sate, in reverent attitude 
On holy grass, 52 the points all bent 
Together toward the orient; 53 
And thus in meditation he 
Entered the path of poesy. 
Then clearly, through his virtue's might, 
All lay discovered to his sight, 
Whate'er befell, through all their life, 
Rama, his brother, and his wife: 
And Dasaratha and each queen 
At every time, in every scene: 
His people too, of every sort; 
The nobles of his princely court: 
Whate'er was said, whate'er decreed, 
Each time they sate each plan and deed: 
For holy thought and fervent rite 
Had so refined his keener sight 
That by his sanctity his view 
The present, past, and future knew, 
And he with mental eye could grasp, 
Like fruit within his fingers clasp, 

51 "The sipping of water is a requisite introduction of all rites: without it, says 
the Samha Purana, all acts of religion are vain." COLEBROOKE.{FNS 

52 The darhha or kusa (Pea cynosuroides), a kind of grass used in sacrifice by 
the Hindus as cerbena was by the Romans. 

53 The direction in which the grass should be placed upon the ground as a seat 
for the Gods, on occasion of offerings made to them. 

Canto III. The Argument. 27 

The life of Rama, great and good, 

Roaming with Sita in the wood. 

He told, with secret-piercing eyes, 

The tale of Rama's high emprise, 

Each listening ear that shall entice, 

A sea of pearls of highest price. 

Thus good Valmfki, sage divine, 

Rehearsed the tale of Raghu's line, 

As Narad, heavenly saint, before 

Had traced the story's outline o'er. 

He sang of Rama's princely birth, 

His kindness and heroic worth; 

His love for all, his patient youth, 

His gentleness and constant truth, 

And many a tale and legend old 

By holy Visvamitra told. 

How Janak's child he wooed and won, 

And broke the bow that bent to none. 

How he with every virtue fraught 

His namesake Rama 54 met and fought. 

The choice of Rama for the throne; 

The malice by Kaikeyi shown, 

Whose evil counsel marred the plan 

And drove him forth a banisht man. 

How the king grieved and groaned, and cried, 

And swooned away and pining died. 

The subjects' woe when thus bereft; 

And how the following crowds he left: 

With Guha talked, and firmly stern 

Ordered his driver to return. 

How Ganga's farther shore he gained; 

By Bharadvaja entertained, 

28 The Ramayana 

By whose advice he journeyed still 

And came to Chitrakuta's hill. 

How there he dwelt and built a cot; 

How Bharat journeyed to the spot; 

His earnest supplication made; 

Drink-offerings to their father paid; 

The sandals given by Rama's hand, 

As emblems of his right, to stand: 

How from his presence Bharat went 

And years in Nandigrama spent. 

How Rama entered Dandak wood 

And in Sutfkhna's presence stood. 

The favour Anasiiya showed, 

The wondrous balsam she bestowed. 

How Sarabhanga's dwelling-place 

They sought; saw Indra face to face; 

The meeting with Agastya gained; 

The heavenly bow from him obtained. 

How Rama with Viradha met; 

Their home in Panchavata set. 

How Surpanakha underwent 

The mockery and disfigurement. 

Of Trisira's and Khara's fall, 

Of Ravan roused at vengeance call, 

Maricha doomed, without escape; 

The fair Videhan 55 lady's rape. 

How Rama wept and raved in vain, 

And how the Vulture-king was slain. 

How Rama fierce Kabandha slew; 

Then to the side of Pampa drew, 

Met Hanuman, and her whose vows 

Were kept beneath the greenwood boughs. 

55 Sita. Videha was the country of which Mithila was the capital. 

Canto III. The Argument. 29 

How Raghu's son, the lofty-souled, 

On Pampa's bank wept uncontrolled, 

Then journeyed, Rishyamuk to reach, 

And of Sugriva then had speech. 

The friendship made, which both had sought: 

How Bali and Sugriva fought. 

How Bali in the strife was slain, 

And how Sugriva came to reign. 

The treaty, Tara's wild lament; 

The rainy nights in watching spent. 

The wrath of Raghu's lion son; 

The gathering of the hosts in one. 

The sending of the spies about, 

And all the regions pointed out. 

The ring by Rama's hand bestowed; 

The cave wherein the bear abode. 

The fast proposed, their lives to end; 

Sampati gained to be their friend. [Oio] 

The scaling of the hill, the leap 

Of Hanuman across the deep. 

Ocean's command that bade them seek 

Mainaka of the lofty peak. 

The death of Sinhika, the sight 

Of Lanka with her palace bright 

How Hanuman stole in at eve; 

His plan the giants to deceive. 

How through the square he made his way 

To chambers where the women lay, 

Within the Asoka garden came 

And there found Rama's captive dame. 

His colloquy with her he sought, 

And giving of the ring he brought. 

How Sita gave a gem o'erjoyed; 

How Hanuman the grove destroyed. 

30 The Ramayana 

How giantesses trembling fled, 
And servant fiends were smitten dead. 
How Hanuman was seized; their ire 
When Lanka blazed with hostile fire. 
His leap across the sea once more; 
The eating of the honey store. 
How Rama he consoled, and how 
He showed the gem from Sita's brow. 
With Ocean, Rama's interview; 
The bridge that Nala o'er it threw. 
The crossing, and the sitting down 
At night round Lanka's royal town. 
The treaty with Vibhishan made: 
The plan for Ravan's slaughter laid. 
How Kumbhakarna in his pride 
And Meghanada fought and died. 
How Ravan in the fight was slain, 
And captive Sita brought again. 
Vibhishan set upon the throne; 
The flying chariot Pushpak shown. 
How Brahma and the Gods appeared, 
And Sita's doubted honour cleared. 
How in the flying car they rode 
To Bharadvaja's cabin abode. 
The Wind-God's son sent on afar; 
How Bharat met the flying car. 
How Rama then was king ordained; 
The legions their discharge obtained. 
How Rama cast his queen away; 
How grew the people's love each day. 
Thus did the saint Valmfki tell 
Whate'er in Rama's life befell, 
And in the closing verses all 
That yet to come will once befall. 

Canto IV. The Rhapsodists. 31 

Canto IV. The Rhapsodists. 

When to the end the tale was brought, 
Rose in the sage's mind the thought; 
"Now who throughout this earth will go, 
And tell it forth that all may know?" 
As thus he mused with anxious breast, 
Behold, in hermit's raiment dressed, 
Kusa and Lava 56 came to greet 
Their master and embrace his feet. 
The twins he saw, that princely pair 
Sweet- voiced, who dwelt beside him there 
None for the task could be more fit, 
For skilled were they in Holy Writ; 
And so the great Ramayan, fraught 
With lore divine, to these he taught: 
The lay whose verses sweet and clear 
Take with delight the listening ear, 
That tell of Sita's noble life 
And Ravan's fall in battle strife. 
Great joy to all who hear they bring, 
Sweet to recite and sweet to sing. 
For music's sevenfold notes are there, 
And triple measure, 57 wrought with care 
With melody and tone and time, 
And flavours 58 that enhance the rime; 

56 The twin sons of Rama and Sfta, born after Rama had repudiated Sfta, and 
brought up in the hermitage of Valmfki. As they were the first rhapsodists 
the combined name Kusilava signifies a reciter of poems, or an improvisatore, 
even to the present day. 

57 Perhaps the bass, tenor, and treble, or quick, slow and middle times, we 
know but little of the ancient music of the Hindus. 

58 Eight flavours or sentiments are usually enumerated, love, mirth, tender- 
ness, anger, heroism, terror, disgust, and surprise; tranquility or content, or 

32 The Ramayana 

Heroic might has ample place, 
And loathing of the false and base, 
With anger, mirth, and terror, blent 
With tenderness, surprise, content. 
When, half the hermit's grace to gain, 
And half because they loved the strain, 
The youth within their hearts had stored 
The poem that his lips outpoured, 
Valmfki kissed them on the head, 
As at his feet they bowed, and said; 
"Recite ye this heroic song 
In tranquil shades where sages throng: 
Recite it where the good resort, 
In lowly home and royal court." 

The hermit ceased. The tuneful pair, 
Like heavenly minstrels sweet and fair, 
In music's art divinely skilled, 
Their saintly master's word fulfilled. 
Like Rama's self, from whom they came, 
[oil] They showed their sire in face and frame, 

As though from some fair sculptured stone 
Two selfsame images had grown. 
Sometimes the pair rose up to sing, 
Surrounded by a holy ring, 
Where seated on the grass had met 
Full many a musing anchoret. 
Then tears bedimmed those gentle eyes, 
As transport took them and surprise, 
And as they listened every one 
Cried in delight, Well done! Well done! 

paternal tenderness, is sometimes considered the ninth. WILSONJFNS. See the 
Sdhitya Darpana or Mirror of Composition translated by Dr. Ballantyne and 
Babu Pramadadasa Mittra in the Bibliotheca Indica. 

Canto IV. The Rhapsodists. 33 

Those sages versed in holy lore 

Praised the sweet minstrels more and more: 

And wondered at the singers' skill, 

And the bard's verses sweeter still, 

Which laid so clear before the eye 

The glorious deeds of days gone by. 

Thus by the virtuous hermits praised, 

Inspirited their voice they raised. 

Pleased with the song this holy man 

Would give the youths a water-can; 

One gave a fair ascetic dress, 

Or sweet fruit from the wilderness. 

One saint a black-deer's hide would bring, 

And one a sacrificial string: 

One, a clay pitcher from his hoard, 

And one, a twisted munja cord. 59 

One in his joy an axe would find, 

One braid, their plaited locks to bind. 

One gave a sacrificial cup, 

One rope to tie their fagots up; 

While fuel at their feet was laid, 

Or hermit's stool of fig-tree made. 

All gave, or if they gave not, none 

Forgot at least a benison. 

Some saints, delighted with their lays, 

Would promise health and length of days; 

Others with surest words would add 

Some boon to make their spirit glad. 

In such degree of honour then 

That song was held by holy men: 

That living song which life can give, 

59 Saccharum Munja is a plant from whose fibres is twisted the sacred string 
which a Brahman wears over one shoulder after he has been initiated by a rite 
which in some respects answers to confirmation. 

34 The Ramayana 

By which shall many a minstrel live. 
In seat of kings, in crowded hall, 
They sang the poem, praised of all. 
And Rama chanced to hear their lay, 
While he the votive steed 60 would slay, 
And sent fit messengers to bring 
The minstrel pair before the king. 
They came, and found the monarch high 
Enthroned in gold, his brothers nigh; 
While many a minister below, 
And noble, sate in lengthened row. 
The youthful pair awhile he viewed 
Graceful in modest attitude, 
And then in words like these addressed 
His brother Lakshman and the rest: 
"Come, listen to the wondrous strain 
Recited by these godlike twain, 
Sweet singers of a story fraught 
With melody and lofty thought." 

The pair, with voices sweet and strong, 
Rolled the full tide of noble song, 
With tone and accent deftly blent 
To suit the changing argument. 
Mid that assembly loud and clear 
Rang forth that lay so sweet to hear, 
That universal rapture stole 
Through each man's frame and heart and soul. 
"These minstrels, blest with every sign 
That marks a high and princely line, 

In holy shades who dwell, 
Enshrined in Saint Valmfki's lay, 

60 A description of an Asvamedha or Horse Sacrifice is given in Canto XIII. 
of this Book. 

Canto V. Ayodhya. 35 

A monument to live for aye, 

My deeds in song shall tell." 
Thus Rama spoke: their breasts were fired, 
And the great tale, as if inspired, 

The youths began to sing, 
While every heart with transport swelled, 
And mute and rapt attention held 

The concourse and the king. 

Canto V. Ayodhya. 

"Ikshvaku's sons from days of old 
Were ever brave and mighty-souled. 
The land their arms had made their own 
Was bounded by the sea alone. 
Their holy works have won them praise, 
Through countless years, from Manu's days. 
Their ancient sire was Sagar, he 
Whose high command dug out the sea: 61 
With sixty thousand sons to throng 
Around him as he marched along. 
From them this glorious tale proceeds: 
The great Ramayan tells their deeds. 
This noble song whose lines contain 
Lessons of duty, love, and gain, 
We two will now at length recite, 
While good men listen with delight. 

61 This exploit is related in Canto XL. 

36 The Ramayana 

On Sarju's 62 bank, of ample size, 
[012] The happy realm of Kosal lies, 

With fertile length of fair champaign 

And flocks and herds and wealth of grain. 

There, famous in her old renown, 

Ayodhya 63 stands, the royal town, 

In bygone ages built and planned 

By sainted Manu's 64 princely hand. 

Imperial seat! her walls extend 

Twelve measured leagues from end to end, 

And three in width from side to side, 

With square and palace beautified. 

Her gates at even distance stand; 

Her ample roads are wisely planned. 

Right glorious is her royal street 

Where streams allay the dust and heat. 

On level ground in even row 

Her houses rise in goodly show: 

Terrace and palace, arch and gate 

The queenly city decorate. 

High are her ramparts, strong and vast, 

By ways at even distance passed, 

62 The Sarjii or Ghaghra, anciently called Sarayu, rises in the Himalayas, and 
after flowing through the province of Oudh, falls into the Ganges. 

63 The ruins of the ancient capital of Rama and the Children of the Sun may 
still be traced in the present Ajudhya near Fyzabad. Ajudhya is the Jerusalem 
or Mecca of the Hindus. 

64 A legislator and saint, the son of Brahma or a personification of Brahma 
himself, the creator of the world, and progenitor of mankind. Derived from the 
root man to think, the word means originally man, the thinker, and is found in 
this sense in the Rig-veda. 

Manu as a legislator is identified with the Cretan Minos, as progenitor of 
mankind with the German Mannus: "Celebrant carminibus antiquis, quod unum 
apud illos memoriae et annalium genus est, Tuisconem deum terra editum, et 
filium Mannum, originem gentis conditoresque." TACITUS{FNS, Germania, 
Cap. II. 

Canto V. Ayodhya. 37 

With circling moat, both deep and wide, 
And store of weapons fortified. 

King Dasaratha, lofty-souled, 
That city guarded and controlled, 
With towering Sal trees belted round, 65 
And many a grove and pleasure ground, 
As royal Indra, throned on high, 
Rules his fair city in the sky. 66 
She seems a painted city, fair 
With chess-board line and even square. 67 
And cool boughs shade the lovely lake 
Where weary men their thirst may slake. 
There gilded chariots gleam and shine, 
And stately piles the Gods enshrine. 
There gay sleek people ever throng 
To festival and dance and song. 
A mine is she of gems and sheen, 
The darling home of Fortune's Queen. 
With noblest sort of drink and meat, 
The fairest rice and golden wheat, 
And fragrant with the chaplet's scent 
With holy oil and incense blent. 
With many an elephant and steed, 
And wains for draught and cars for speed. 
With envoys sent by distant kings, 
And merchants with their precious things 
With banners o'er her roofs that play, 

65 The Sal (Shorea Robusta) is a valuable timber tree of considerable height. 

66 The city of Indra is called Amaravatf or Home of the Immortals. 

67 Schlegel thinks that this refers to the marble of different colours with which 
the houses were adorned. It seems more natural to understand it as implying 
the regularity of the streets and houses. 

38 The Ramayana 

And weapons that a hundred slay; 68 
All warlike engines framed by man, 
And every class of artisan. 
A city rich beyond compare 
With bards and minstrels gathered there, 
And men and damsels who entrance 
The soul with play and song and dance. 
In every street is heard the lute, 
The drum, the tabret, and the flute, 
The Veda chanted soft and low, 
The ringing of the archer's bow; 
With bands of godlike heroes skilled 
In every warlike weapon, filled, 
And kept by warriors from the foe, 
As Nagas guard their home below. 69 
There wisest Brahmans evermore 

The flame of worship feed, 
And versed in all the Vedas' lore, 

Their lives of virtue lead. 
Truthful and pure, they freely give; 

They keep each sense controlled, 
And in their holy fervour live 

Like the great saints of old. 

Canto VI. The King. 

68 The Sataghni i.e. centicide, or slayer of a hundred, is generally supposed to 
be a sort of fire-arms, or the ancient Indian rocket; but it is also described as a 
stone set round with iron spikes. 

69 The Nagas (serpents) are demigods with a human face and serpent body. 
They inhabit Patala or the regions under the earth. Bhogavatf is the name of 
their capital city. Serpents are still worshipped in India. See Fergusson's Tree 
and Serpent Worship. 

Canto VI. The King. 39 

There reigned a king of name revered, 

To country and to town endeared, 

Great Dasaratha, good and sage, 

Well read in Scripture's holy page: [013] 

Upon his kingdom's weal intent, 

Mighty and brave and provident; 

The pride of old Ikshvaku's seed 

For lofty thought and righteous deed. 

Peer of the saints, for virtues famed, 

For foes subdued and passions tamed: 

A rival in his wealth untold 

Of Indra and the Lord of Gold. 

Like Manu first of kings, he reigned, 

And worthily his state maintained. 

For firm and just and ever true 

Love, duty, gain he kept in view, 

And ruled his city rich and free, 

Like Indra's Amaravati. 

And worthy of so fair a place 

There dwelt a just and happy race 

With troops of children blest. 
Each man contented sought no more, 
Nor longed with envy for the store 

By richer friends possessed. 
For poverty was there unknown, 
And each man counted as his own 

Kine, steeds, and gold, and grain. 
All dressed in raiment bright and clean, 
And every townsman might be seen 

With earrings, wreath, or chain. 
None deigned to feed on broken fare, 
And none was false or stingy there. 
A piece of gold, the smallest pay, 
Was earned by labour for a day. 

40 The Ramayana 

On every arm were bracelets worn, 
And none was faithless or forsworn, 

A braggart or unkind. 
None lived upon another's wealth, 
None pined with dread or broken health, 

Or dark disease of mind. 
High-souled were all. The slanderous word, 
The boastful lie, were never heard. 
Each man was constant to his vows, 
And lived devoted to his spouse. 
No other love his fancy knew, 
And she was tender, kind, and true. 
Her dames were fair of form and face, 
With charm of wit and gentle grace, 
With modest raiment simply neat, 
And winning manners soft and sweet. 
The twice-born sages, whose delight 
Was Scripture's page and holy rite, 
Their calm and settled course pursued, 
Nor sought the menial multitude. 
In many a Scripture each was versed, 
And each the flame of worship nursed, 

And gave with lavish hand. 
Each paid to Heaven the offerings due, 
And none was godless or untrue 

In all that holy band. 
To Brahmans, as the laws ordain, 
The Warrior caste were ever fain 

The reverence due to pay; 
And these the Vaisyas' peaceful crowd, 
Who trade and toil for gain, were proud 

To honour and obey; 
And all were by the Sudras 70 served, 

70 The fourth and lowest pure caste whose duty was to serve the three first 

Canto VI. The King. 41 

Who never from their duty swerved, 
Their proper worship all addressed 
To Brahman, spirits, God, and guest. 
Pure and unmixt their rites remained, 
Their race's honour ne'er was stained. 71 
Cheered by his grandsons, sons, and wife, 
Each passed a long and happy life. 
Thus was that famous city held 
By one who all his race excelled, 

Blest in his gentle reign, 
As the whole land aforetime swayed 
By Manu, prince of men, obeyed 

Her king from main to main. 
And heroes kept her, strong and brave, 
As lions guard their mountain cave: 
Fierce as devouring flame they burned, 
And fought till death, but never turned. 
Horses had she of noblest breed, 
Like Indra's for their form and speed, 
From Vahlfs 72 hills and Sindhu's 73 sand, 


71 By forbidden marriages between persons of different castes. 

72 Vahlf or Vahlfka is Bactriana; its name is preserved in the modern Balkh. 

73 The Sanskrit word Sindhu is in the singular the name of the river Indus, in 
the plural of the people and territories on its banks. The name appears as Hidku 
in the cuneiform inscription of Darius' son of Hystaspes, in which the nations 
tributary to that king are enumerated. 

The Hebrew form is Hodda (Esther, I. 1.). In Zend it appears as Hendu 
in a somewhat wider sense. With the Persians later the signification of Hind 
seems to have co-extended with their increasing acquaintance with the country. 
The weak Ionic dialect omitted the Persian h, and we find in Hecataeus and 
Herodotus "IvSoc. and r| 'IvSiKrj. In this form the Romans received the names 
and transmitted them to us. The Arabian geographers in their ignorance that 
Hind and Sind are two forms of the same word have made of them two brothers 
and traced their decent from Noah. See Lassen's Indische Alterthumskunde 
Vol. I. pp. 2, 3. 

42 The Ramayana 

[014] Vanayu 74 and Kamboja's land. 75 

Her noble elephants had strayed 
Through Vindhyan and Himalayan shade, 
Gigantic in their bulk and height, 
Yet gentle in their matchless might. 
They rivalled well the world-spread fame 
Of the great stock from which they came, 

Of Vaman, vast of size, 
Of Mahapadma's glorious line, 
Thine, Anjan, and, Airavat, thine. 76 

Upholders of the skies. 
With those, enrolled in fourfold class, 
Who all their mighty kin surpass, 

Whom men Matangas name, 
And Mrigas spotted black and white, 
And Bhadras of unwearied might, 
And Mandras hard to tame. 77 
Thus, worthy of the name she bore, 78 
Ayodhya for a league or more 

Cast a bright glory round, 
Where Dasaratha wise and great 

74 The situation of Vanayu is not exactly determined: it seems to have lain to 
the north-west of India. 

75 Kamboja was probably still further to the north-west. Lassen thinks that 
the name is etymologically connected with Cambyses which in the cuneiform 
inscription of Behistun is written Ka(m)bujia. 

76 The elephants of Indra and other deities who preside over the four points of 
the compass. 

' "There are four kinds of elephants. 1 Bhaddar. It is well proportioned, has 
an erect head, a broad chest, large ears, a long tail, and is bold and can bear 
fatigue. 2 Mand. It is black, has yellow eyes, a uniformly sized body, and is 
wild and ungovernable. 3 Mirg. It has a whitish skin, with black spots. 4 Mir. 
It has a small head, and obeys readily. It gets frightened when it thunders." 
Ain-i-Akbar(.. Translated by H. Blochmann, Am 41, The Imperial Elephant 
78 Ayodhya means not to be fought against. 

Canto VII. The Ministers. 43 

Governed his fair ancestral state, 

With every virtue crowned. 
Like Indra in the skies he reigned 
In that good town whose wall contained 

High domes and turrets proud, 
With gates and arcs of triumph decked, 
And sturdy barriers to protect 

Her gay and countless crowd. 

Canto VII. The Ministers. 

Two sages, holy saints, had he, 
His ministers and priests to be: 
Vasishtha, faithful to advise, 
And Vamadeva, Scripture-wise. 
Eight other lords around him stood, 
All skilled to counsel, wise and good: 
Jayanta, Vijay, Dhrishti bold 
In fight, affairs of war controlled: 
Siddharth and Arthasadhak true 
Watched o'er expense and revenue, 
And Dharmapal and wise Asok 
Of right and law and justice spoke. 
With these the sage Sumantra, skilled 
To urge the car, high station filled. 

All these in knowledge duly trained 
Each passion and each sense restrained: 
With modest manners, nobly bred 
Each plan and nod and look they read, 
Upon their neighbours' good intent, 
Most active and benevolent: 

44 The Ramayana 

As sit the Vasus 79 round their king, 
They sate around him counselling. 
They ne'er in virtue's loftier pride 
Another's lowly gifts decried. 
In fair and seemly garb arrayed, 
No weak uncertain plans they made. 
Well skilled in business, fair and just, 
They gained the people's love and trust, 
And thus without oppression stored 
The swelling treasury of their lord. 
Bound in sweet friendship each to each, 
They spoke kind thoughts in gentle speech. 
They looked alike with equal eye 
On every caste, on low and high. 
Devoted to their king, they sought, 
Ere his tongue spoke, to learn his thought, 
And knew, as each occasion rose, 
To hide their counsel or disclose. 
In foreign lands or in their own 
Whatever passed, to them was known. 
By secret spies they timely knew 
What men were doing or would do. 
Skilled in the grounds of war and peace 
They saw the monarch's state increase, 
Watching his weal with conquering eye 
That never let occasion by, 
While nature lent her aid to bless 
Their labours with unbought success. 
Never for anger, lust, or gain, 
Would they their lips with falsehood stain. 
Inclined to mercy they could scan 
The weakness and the strength of man. 

79 Attendants of Indra, eight Gods whose names signify fire, light and its 

Canto VIII. Sumantra's Speech. 45 

They fairly judged both high and low, 

And ne'er would wrong a guiltless foe; 

Yet if a fault were proved, each one 

Would punish e'en his own dear son. 

But there and in the kingdom's bound 

No thief or man impure was found: 

None of loose life or evil fame, 

No tempter of another's dame. 

Contented with their lot each caste [015] 

Calm days in blissful quiet passed; 

And, all in fitting tasks employed, 

Country and town deep rest enjoyed, 

With these wise lords around his throne 

The monarch justly reigned, 
And making every heart his own 

The love of all men gained. 
With trusty agents, as beseems, 

Each distant realm he scanned, 
As the sun visits with his beams 

Each corner of the land. 
Ne'er would he on a mightier foe 

With hostile troops advance, 
Nor at an equal strike a blow 

In war's delusive chance. 
These lords in council bore their part 
With ready brain and faithful heart, 
With skill and knowledge, sense and tact, 
Good to advise and bold to act. 
And high and endless fame he won 

With these to guide his schemes, 
As, risen in his might, the sun 

Wins glory with his beams. 

46 The Ramayana 

Canto VIII. Sumantra's Speech. 

But splendid, just, and great of mind, 
The childless king for offspring pined. 
No son had he his name to grace, 
Transmitter of his royal race. 
Long had his anxious bosom wrought, 
And as he pondered rose the thought: 
"A votive steed 'twere good to slay, 
So might a son the gift repay." 
Before his lords his plan he laid, 
And bade them with their wisdom aid: 
Then with these words Sumantra, best 
Of royal counsellors, addressed: 
"Hither, Vasishtha at their head, 
Let all my priestly guides be led." 

To him Sumantra made reply: 
"Hear, Sire, a tale of days gone by. 
To many a sage in time of old, 
Sanatkumar, the saint, foretold 
How from thine ancient line, O King, 
A son, when years came round, should spring. 
"Here dwells," 'twas thus the seer began, 
"Of Kasyap's 80 race, a holy man, 
Vibhandak named: to him shall spring 
A son, the famous Rishyasring. 
Bred with the deer that round him roam, 
The wood shall be that hermit's home. 
To him no mortal shall be known 
Except his holy sire alone. 
Still by those laws shall he abide 

80 Kasyap was a grandson of the God Brahma. He is supposed to have given 
his name to Kashmir = Kasyapa-mfra, Kasyap's Lake. 

Canto VIII. Sumantra's Speech. 47 

Which lives of youthful Brahmans guide, 
Obedient to the strictest rule 
That forms the young ascetic's school: 
And all the wondering world shall hear 
Of his stern life and penance drear; 
His care to nurse the holy fire 
And do the bidding of his sire. 
Then, seated on the Angas' 81 throne, 

Shall Lomapad to fame be known. 

But folly wrought by that great king 

A plague upon the land shall bring; 

No rain for many a year shall fall 

And grievous drought shall ruin all. 

The troubled king with many a prayer 

Shall bid the priests some cure declare: 

"The lore of Heaven 'tis yours to know, 

Nor are ye blind to things below: 

Declare, O holy men, the way 

This plague to expiate and stay." 

Those best of Brahmans shall reply: 

"By every art, O Monarch, try 

Hither to bring Vibhandak's child, 

Persuaded, captured, or beguiled. 

And when the boy is hither led 

To him thy daughter duly wed." 

81 The people of Anga. "Anga is said in the lexicons to be Bengal; but here 
certainly another region is intended situated at the confluence of the Sarjii with 
the Ganges, and not far distant from Dasaratha's dominions." GORRESIO{FNS. 
It comprised part of Behar and Bhagulpur. 

48 The Ramayana 

But how to bring that wondrous boy 
His troubled thoughts will long employ, 
And hopeless to achieve the task 
He counsel of his lords will ask, 
And bid his priests and servants bring 
With honour saintly Rishyasring. 
But when they hear the monarch's speech, 
All these their master will beseech, 
With trembling hearts and looks of woe, 
To spare them, for they fear to go. 
And many a plan will they declare 

And crafty plots will frame, 
And promise fair to show him there, 

Unforced, with none to blame. 
On every word his lords shall say, 

The king will meditate, 
And on the third returning day 

Recall them to debate. 
Then this shall be the plan agreed, 

That damsels shall be sent 
Attired in holy hermits' weed, 

And skilled in blandishment, 
That they the hermit may beguile 
[016] With every art and amorous wile 

Whose use they know so well, 
And by their witcheries seduce 
The unsuspecting young recluse 

To leave his father's cell. 
Then when the boy with willing feet 
Shall wander from his calm retreat 

And in that city stand, 
The troubles of the king shall end, 
And streams of blessed rain descend 

Upon the thirsty land. 

Canto IX. Rishyasring. 49 

Thus shall the holy Rishyasring 
To Lomapad, the mighty king, 

By wedlock be allied; 
For Santa, fairest of the fair, 
In mind and grace beyond compare, 

Shall be his royal bride. 
He, at the Offering of the Steed, 
The flames with holy oil shall feed, 
And for King Dasaratha gain 
Sons whom his prayers have begged in vain." 
"I have repeated, Sire, thus far, 
The words of old Sanatkumar, 
In order as he spoke them then 
Amid the crowd of holy men." 

Then Dasaratha cried with joy, 
"Say how they brought the hermit boy." 

Canto IX. Rishyasring. 

The wise Sumantra, thus addressed, 

Unfolded at the king's behest 

The plan the lords in council laid 

To draw the hermit from the shade: 

"The priest, amid the lordly crowd, 

To Lomapad thus spoke aloud: 

"Hear, King, the plot our thoughts have framed, 

A harmless trick by all unblamed. 

Far from the world that hermit's child 

Lives lonely in the distant wild: 

A stranger to the joys of sense, 

His bliss is pain and abstinence; 

50 The Ramayana 

And all unknown are women yet 
To him, a holy anchoret. 
The gentle passions we will wake 
That with resistless influence shake 

The hearts of men; and he 
Drawn by enchantment strong and sweet 
Shall follow from his lone retreat, 

And come and visit thee. 
Let ships be formed with utmost care 
That artificial trees may bear, 

And sweet fruit deftly made; 
Let goodly raiment, rich and rare, 
And flowers, and many a bird be there 

Beneath the leafy shade. 
Upon the ships thus decked a band 
Of young and lovely girls shall stand, 
Rich in each charm that wakes desire, 
And eyes that burn with amorous fire; 
Well skilled to sing, and play, and dance 
And ply their trade with smile and glance 
Let these, attired in hermits' dress, 
Betake them to the wilderness, 
And bring the boy of life austere 
A voluntary captive here." 

He ended; and the king agreed, 

By the priest's counsel won. 
And all the ministers took heed 

To see his bidding done. 
In ships with wondrous art prepared 
Away the lovely women fared, 
And soon beneath the shade they stood 
Of the wild, lonely, dreary wood. 
And there the leafy cot they found 

Where dwelt the devotee, 

Canto IX. Rishyasring. 51 

And looked with eager eyes around 

The hermit's son to see. 
Still, of Vibhandak sore afraid, 
They hid behind the creepers' shade. 
But when by careful watch they knew 
The elder saint was far from view, 
With bolder steps they ventured nigh 
To catch the youthful hermit's eye. 
Then all the damsels, blithe and gay, 
At various games began to play. 
They tossed the flying ball about 
With dance and song and merry shout, 
And moved, their scented tresses bound 
With wreaths, in mazy motion round. 
Some girls as if by love possessed, 
Sank to the earth in feigned unrest, 
Up starting quickly to pursue 
Their intermitted game anew. 
It was a lovely sight to see 

Those fair ones, as they played, 
While fragrant robes were floating free, 
And bracelets clashing in their glee 

A pleasant tinkling made. 
The anklet's chime, the Koil's 82 cry 

With music filled the place 
As 'twere some city in the sky 
Which heavenly minstrels grace. 
With each voluptuous art they strove 
To win the tenant of the grove, 
And with their graceful forms inspire 

82 The Koi'l or kokila (Cuculus Indicus) as the harbinger of spring and love is 
a universal favourite with Indian poets. His voice when first heard in a glorious 
spring morning is not unpleasant, but becomes in the hot season intolerably 
wearisome to European ears. 

52 The Ramayana 

His modest soul with soft desire. 
With arch of brow, with beck and smile, 
[017] With every passion-waking wile 

Of glance and lotus hand, 
With all enticements that excite 
The longing for unknown delight 

Which boys in vain withstand. 
Forth came the hermit's son to view 
The wondrous sight to him so new, 

And gazed in rapt surprise, 
For from his natal hour till then 
On woman or the sons of men 

He ne'er had cast his eyes. 
He saw them with their waists so slim, 
With fairest shape and faultless limb, 
In variegated robes arrayed, 
And sweetly singing as they played. 
Near and more near the hermit drew, 

And watched them at their game, 
And stronger still the impulse grew 

To question whence they came. 
They marked the young ascetic gaze 
With curious eye and wild amaze, 
And sweet the long-eyed damsels sang, 
And shrill their merry laughter rang. 
Then came they nearer to his side, 
And languishing with passion cried: 
"Whose son, O youth, and who art thou, 
Come suddenly to join us now? 
And why dost thou all lonely dwell 
In the wild wood? We pray thee, tell, 
We wish to know thee, gentle youth; 
Come, tell us, if thou wilt, the truth." 

He gazed upon that sight he ne'er 

Canto IX. Rishyasring. 53 

Had seen before, of girls so fair, 
And out of love a longing rose 
His sire and lineage to disclose: 
"My father," thus he made reply, 
"Is Kasyap's son, a saint most high, 
Vibhandak styled; from him I came, 
And Rishyasring he calls my name. 
Our hermit cot is near this place: 
Come thither, O ye fair of face; 
There be it mine, with honour due, 
Ye gentle youths, to welcome you." 

They heard his speech, and gave consent, 
And gladly to his cottage went. 
Vibhandak's son received them well 
Beneath the shelter of his cell 
With guest-gift, water for their feet, 
And woodland fruit and roots to eat, 
They smiled, and spoke sweet words like these, 
Delighted with his courtesies: 
"We too have goodly fruit in store, 
Grown on the trees that shade our door; 
Come, if thou wilt, kind Hermit, haste 
The produce of our grove to taste; 
And let, O good Ascetic, first 
This holy water quench thy thirst." 
They spoke, and gave him comfits sweet 
Prepared ripe fruits to counterfeit; 
And many a dainty cate beside 
And luscious mead their stores supplied. 
The seeming fruits, in taste and look, 
The unsuspecting hermit took, 
For, strange to him, their form beguiled 
The dweller in the lonely wild. 
Then round his neck fair arms were flung, 

54 The Ramayana 

And there the laughing damsels clung, 
And pressing nearer and more near 
With sweet lips whispered at his ear; 
While rounded limb and swelling breast 
The youthful hermit softly pressed. 
The pleasing charm of that strange bowl, 

The touch of a tender limb, 
Over his yielding spirit stole 

And sweetly vanquished him. 
But vows, they said, must now be paid; 

They bade the boy farewell, 
And, of the aged saint afraid, 

Prepared to leave the dell. 
With ready guile they told him where 

Their hermit dwelling lay: 
Then, lest the sire should find them there, 

Sped by wild paths away. 
They fled and left him there alone 

By longing love possessed; 
And with a heart no more his own 

He roamed about distressed. 
The aged saint came home, to find 

The hermit boy distraught, 
Revolving in his troubled mind 

One solitary thought. 
"Why dost thou not, my son," he cried, 

"Thy due obeisance pay? 
Why do I see thee in the tide 

Of whelming thought to-day? 
A devotee should never wear 

A mien so sad and strange. 
Come, quickly, dearest child, declare 

The reason of the change." 
And Rishyasring, when questioned thus, 

Canto IX. Rishyasring. 55 

Made answer in this wise: 
"O sire, there came to visit us 

Some men with lovely eyes. 
About my neck soft arms they wound 

And kept me tightly held 
To tender breasts so soft and round, 

That strangely heaved and swelled. 
They sing more sweetly as they dance 

Than e'er I heard till now, 
And play with many a sidelong glance 

And arching of the brow." 
"My son," said he, "thus giants roam 

Where holy hermits are, 
And wander round their peaceful home 

Their rites austere to mar. 
I charge thee, thou must never lay 

Thy trust in them, dear boy: 
They seek thee only to betray, 

And woo but to destroy." 
Thus having warned him of his foes 

That night at home he spent. 
And when the morrow's sun arose [018] 

Forth to the forest went. 

But Rishyasring with eager pace 
Sped forth and hurried to the place 
Where he those visitants had seen 
Of daintly waist and charming mien. 
When from afar they saw the son 
Of Saint Vibhandak toward them run, 
To meet the hermit boy they hied, 
And hailed him with a smile, and cried: 
"O come, we pray, dear lord, behold 
Our lovely home of which we told 
Due honour there to thee we'll pay, 

56 The Ramayana 

And speed thee on thy homeward way." 
Pleased with the gracious words they said 
He followed where the damsels led. 
As with his guides his steps he bent, 

That Brahman high of worth, 
A flood of rain from heaven was sent 

That gladdened all the earth. 

Vibhandak took his homeward road, 
And wearied by the heavy load 
Of roots and woodland fruit he bore 
Entered at last his cottage door. 
Fain for his son he looked around, 
But desolate the cell he found. 
He stayed not then to bathe his feet, 
Though fainting with the toil and heat, 
But hurried forth and roamed about 
Calling the boy with cry and shout, 
He searched the wood, but all in vain; 
Nor tidings of his son could gain. 

One day beyond the forest's bound 
The wandering saint a village found, 
And asked the swains and neatherds there 
Who owned the land so rich and fair, 
With all the hamlets of the plain, 
And herds of kine and fields of grain. 
They listened to the hermit's words, 
And all the guardians of the herds, 
With suppliant hands together pressed, 
This answer to the saint addressed: 
"The Angas' lord who bears the name 
Of Lomapad, renowned by fame, 
Bestowed these hamlets with their kine 

Canto IX. Rishyasring. 57 

And all their riches, as a sign 
Of grace, on Rishyasring: and he 
Vibhandak's son is said to be." 
The hermit with exulting breast 
The mighty will of fate confessed, 
By meditation's eye discerned; 
And cheerful to his home returned. 

A stately ship, at early morn, 
The hermit's son away had borne. 
Loud roared the clouds, as on he sped, 
The sky grew blacker overhead; 
Till, as he reached the royal town, 
A mighty flood of rain came down. 
By the great rain the monarch's mind 
The coming of his guest divined. 
To meet the honoured youth he went, 
And low to earth his head he bent. 
With his own priest to lead the train, 
He gave the gift high guests obtain. 
And sought, with all who dwelt within 
The city walls, his grace to win. 
He fed him with the daintiest fare, 
He served him with unceasing care, 
And ministered with anxious eyes 
Lest anger in his breast should rise; 
And gave to be the Brahman's bride 
His own fair daughter, lotus-eyed. 

Thus loved and honoured by the king, 
The glorious Brahman Rishyasring 
Passed in that royal town his life 
With Santa his beloved wife." 

58 The Ramayana 

Canto X. Rishyasring Invited. 

"Again, O best of kings, give ear: 
My saving words attentive hear, 
And listen to the tale of old 
By that illustrious Brahman told. 
"Of famed Ikshvaku's line shall spring 
(Twas thus he spoke) a pious king, 
Named Dasaratha, good and great, 
True to his word and fortunate. 
He with the Angas' mighty lord 
Shall ever live in sweet accord, 
And his a daughter fair shall be, 
Santa of happy destiny. 
But Lomapad, the Angas' chief, 
Still pining in his childless grief, 
To Dasaratha thus shall say: 
"Give me thy daughter, friend, I pray, 
Thy Santa of the tranquil mind, 
The noblest one of womankind." 

The father, swift to feel for woe, 
Shall on his friend his child bestow; 
And he shall take her and depart 
To his own town with joyous heart. 
The maiden home in triumph led, 
To Rishyasring the king shall wed. 
And he with loving joy and pride 
Shall take her for his honoured bride. 
And Dasaratha to a rite 
That best of Brahmans shall invite 

With supplicating prayer, 
To celebrate the sacrifice 

Canto X. Rishyasring Invited. 59 

To win him sons and Paradise, 83 

That he will fain prepare. [019] 

From him the lord of men at length 

The boon he seeks shall gain, 
And see four sons of boundless strength 

His royal line maintain." 
"Thus did the godlike saint of old 

The will of fate declare, 
And all that should befall unfold 

Amid the sages there. 
O Prince supreme of men, go thou, 

Consult thy holy guide, 
And win, to aid thee in thy vow, 

This Brahman to thy side." 
Sumantra's counsel, wise and good, 

King Dasaratha heard, 
Then by Vasishtha's side he stood 
And thus with him conferred: 
"Sumantra counsels thus: do thou 
My priestly guide, the plan allow." 

Vasishtha gave his glad consent, 
And forth the happy monarch went 
With lords and servants on the road 
That led to Rishyasring's abode. 
Forests and rivers duly past, 
He reached the distant town at last 
Of Lomapad the Angas' king, 
And entered it with welcoming. 
On through the crowded streets he came, 
And, radiant as the kindled flame, 

83 "Sons and Paradise are intimately connected in Indian belief. A man desires 
above every thing to have a son to perpetuate his race, and to assist with 
sacrifices and funeral rites to make him worthy to obtain a lofty seat in heaven 
or to preserve that which he has already obtained." GORRESIO{FNS. 

60 The Ramayana 

He saw within the monarch's house 
The hermit's son most glorious. 
There Lomapad, with joyful breast, 

To him all honour paid, 
For friendship for his royal guest 

His faithful bosom swayed. 
Thus entertained with utmost care 
Seven days, or eight, he tarried there, 
And then that best of men thus broke 
His purpose to the king, and spoke: 
"O King of men, mine ancient friend, 

(Thus Dasaratha prayed) 
Thy Santa with her husband send 

My sacrifice to aid." 
Said he who ruled the Angas, Yea, 

And his consent was won: 
And then at once he turned away 

To warn the hermit's son. 
He told him of their ties beyond 
Their old affection's faithful bond: 
"This king," he said, "from days of old 
A well beloved friend I hold. 
To me this pearl of dames he gave 
From childless woe mine age to save, 
The daughter whom he loved so much, 
Moved by compassion's gentle touch. 
In him thy Santas father see: 
As I am even so is he. 
For sons the childless monarch yearns: 
To thee alone for help he turns. 
Go thou, the sacred rite ordain 
To win the sons he prays to gain: 
Go, with thy wife thy succour lend, 
And give his vows a blissful end." 

Canto X. Rishyasring Invited. 61 

The hermit's son with quick accord 
Obeyed the Angas' mighty lord, 
And with fair Santa at his side 
To Dasaratha's city hied. 
Each king, with suppliant hands upheld, 

Gazed on the other's face: 
And then by mutual love impelled 

Met in a close embrace. 
Then Dasaratha's thoughtful care, 

Before he parted thence, 
Bade trusty servants homeward bear 

The glad intelligence: 
"Let all the town be bright and gay 

With burning incense sweet; 
Let banners wave, and water lay 

The dust in every street." 
Glad were the citizens to learn 
The tidings of their lord's return, 
And through the city every man 
Obediently his task began. 
And fair and bright Ayodhya showed, 
As following his guest he rode 
Through the full streets where shell and drum 
Proclaimed aloud the king was come. 
And all the people with delight 

Kept gazing on their king, 
Attended by that youth so bright, 

The glorious Rishyasring. 
When to his home the king had brought 

The hermit's saintly son, 
He deemed that all his task was wrought, 

And all he prayed for won. 
And lords who saw that stranger dame 

So beautiful to view, 

62 The Ramayana 

Rejoiced within their hearts, and came 

And paid her honour too. 
There Rishyasring passed blissful days, 
Graced like the king with love and praise 
And shone in glorious light with her, 
Sweet Santa, for his minister, 
As Brahma's son Vasishtha, he 
Who wedded Saint Arundhati. 84 

Canto XI. The Sacrifice Decreed. 

The Dewy Season 85 came and went; 

The spring returned again: 
Then would the king, with mind intent, 
[020] His sacrifice ordain. 

He came to Rishyasring, and bowed 

To him of look divine, 
And bade him aid his offering vowed 

For heirs, to save his line. 
Nor would the youth his aid deny: 

He spake the monarch fair, 
And prayed him for that rite so high 

All requisites prepare. 
The king to wise Sumantra cried 

Who stood aye ready near; 
"Go summon quick each holy guide, 

To counsel and to hear." 

84 One of the Pleiades and generally regarded as the model of wifely excel- 

85 The Hindu year is divided into six seasons of two months each, spring, 
summer, rains, autumn, winter, and dews. 

Canto XI. The Sacrifice Decreed. 63 

Obedient to his lord's behest 

Away Sumantra sped, 
And brought Vasishtha and the rest, 

In Scripture deeply read. 
Suyajna, Vamadeva came, 

Javali, Kasyap's son, 
And old Vasishtha, dear to fame, 

Obedient every one. 
King Dasaratha met them there 

And duly honoured each, 
And spoke in pleasant words his fair 

And salutary speech: 
"In childless longing doomed to pine, 
No happiness, O lords, is mine. 
So have I for this cause decreed 
To slay the sacrificial steed. 
Fain would I pay that offering high 
Wherein the horse is doomed to die, 
With Rishyasring his aid to lend, 
And with your glory to befriend." 

With loud applause each holy man 
Received his speech, approved the plan, 
And, by the wise Vasishtha led, 
Gave praises to the king, and said: 
"The sons thou cravest shalt thou see, 
Of fairest glory, born to thee, 
Whose holy feelings bid thee take 
This righteous course for offspring's sake." 
Cheered by the ready praise of those 
Whose aid he sought, his spirits rose, 
And thus the king his speech renewed 
With looks of joy and gratitude: 
"Let what the coming rites require 
Be ready as the priests desire, 

64 The Ramayana 

And let the horse, ordained to bleed, 

With fitting guard and priest, be freed, 86 

Yonder on Sarju's northern side 

The sacrificial ground provide; 

And let the saving rites, that naught 

Ill-omened may occur, be wrought. 

The offering I announce to-day 

Each lord of earth may claim to pay, 

Provided that his care can guard 

The holy rite by flaws unmarred. 

For wandering fiends, whose watchful spite 

Waits eagerly to spoil each rite, 

Hunting with keenest eye detect 

The slightest slip, the least neglect; 

And when the sacred work is crossed 

The workman is that moment lost. 

Let preparation due be made: 

Your powers the charge can meet: 
That so the noble rite be paid 

In every point complete." 
And all the Brahmans answered, Yea, 

His mandate honouring, 
And gladly promised to obey 

The order of the king. 
They cried with voices raised aloud: 

"Success attend thine aim!" 
Then bade farewell, and lowly bowed, 

And hastened whence they came. 
King Dasaratha went within, 

His well loved wives to see: 
And said: "Your lustral rites begin, 

86 It was essential that the horse should wander free for a year before immo- 
lation, as a sign that his master's paramount sovereignty was acknowledged by 
all neighbouring princes. 

Canto XII. The Sacrifice Begun. 65 

For these shall prosper me. 
A glorious offering I prepare 
That precious fruit of sons may bear." 
Their lily faces brightened fast 

Those pleasant words to hear, 
As lilies, when the winter's past, 
In lovelier hues appear. 

Canto XII. The Sacrifice Begun. 

Again the spring with genial heat 
Returning made the year complete. 
To win him sons, without delay 
His vow the king resolved to pay: 
And to Vasishtha, saintly man, 
In modest words this speech began: 
"Prepare the rite with all things fit 
As is ordained in Holy Writ, 
And keep with utmost care afar 
Whate'er its sacred forms might mar. 
Thou art, my lord, my trustiest guide, 
Kind-hearted, and my friend beside; 
So is it meet thou undertake 
This heavy task for duty's sake." 

Then he, of twice-born men the best, 
His glad assent at once expressed: 
"Fain will I do whate'er may be 
Desired, O honoured King, by thee." 
To ancient priests he spoke, who, trained 
In holy rites, deep skill had gained: 
"Here guards be stationed, good and sage 

66 The Ramayana 

Religious men of trusted age. 
And various workmen send and call, 
Who frame the door and build the wall: 
With men of every art and trade, 
[021] Who read the stars and ply the spade, 

And mimes and minstrels hither bring, 
And damsels trained to dance and sing." 

Then to the learned men he said, 
In many a page of Scripture read: 
"Be yours each rite performed to see 
According to the king's decree. 
And stranger Brahmans quickly call 
To this great rite that welcomes all. 
Pavilions for the princes, decked 
With art and ornament, erect, 
And handsome booths by thousands made 
The Brahman visitors to shade, 
Arranged in order side by side, 
With meat and drink and all supplied. 
And ample stables we shall need 
For many an elephant and steed: 
And chambers where the men may lie, 
And vast apartments, broad and high, 
Fit to receive the countless bands 
Of warriors come from distant lands. 
For our own people too provide 
Sufficient tents, extended wide, 
And stores of meat and drink prepare, 
And all that can be needed there. 
And food in plenty must be found 
For guests from all the country round. 
Of various viands presents make, 
For honour, not for pity's sake, 
That fit regard and worship be 

Canto XII. The Sacrifice Begun. 67 

Paid to each caste in due degree. 
And let not wish or wrath excite 
Your hearts the meanest guest to slight; 
But still observe with special grace 
Those who obtain the foremost place, 
Whether for happier skill in art 
Or bearing in the rite their part. 
Do you, I pray, with friendly mind 
Perform the task to you assigned, 
And work the rite, as bids the law, 
Without omission, slip, or flaw" 

They answered: "As thou seest fit 
So will we do and naught omit." 
The sage Vasistha then addressed 
Sumantra called at his behest: 
"The princes of the earth invite, 
And famous lords who guard the rite, 
Priest, Warrior, Merchant, lowly thrall, 
In countless thousands summon all. 
Where'er their home be, far or near, 
Gather the good with honour here, 
And Janak, whose imperial sway 
The men of Mfthila 87 obey. 
The firm of vow, the dread of foes, 
Who all the lore of Scripture knows, 
Invite him here with honour high, 
King Dasaratha's old ally. 
And Kasi's 88 lord of gentle speech, 
Who finds a pleasant word for each, 

87 Called also Vidcha, later Tirabhukti, corrupted into the modern Tirhut, a 
province bounded on the west and east by the Gaudakf and Kausikf rivers, on 
the south by the Ganges, and on the north by the skirts of the Himalayas. 

88 The celebrated city of Benares. See Dr. Hall's learned and exhaustive 
Monograph in the Sacred City of the Hindus, by the Rev. M. A. Sherring. 

The Ramayana 

In length of days our monarch's peer, 
Illustrious king, invite him here. 
The father of our ruler's bride, 
Known for his virtues far and wide, 
The king whom Kekaya's 89 realms obey, 
Him with his son invite, I pray. 
And Lomapad the Angas' king, 
True to his vows and godlike, bring. 
For be thine invitations sent 
To west and south and orient. 
Call those who rule Surashtra's 90 land, 
Suvfra's 91 realm and Sindhu's strand, 
And all the kings of earth beside 
In friendship's bonds with us allied: 
Invite them all to hasten in 
With retinue and kith and kin." 

Vasishtha's speech without delay 
Sumantra bent him to obey. 
And sent his trusty envoys forth 
Eastward and westward, south and north. 
Obedient to the saint's request 
Himself he hurried forth, and pressed 
Each nobler chief and lord and king 
To hasten to the gathering. 
Before the saint Vasishtha stood 
All those who wrought with stone and wood, 
And showed the work which every one 
In furtherance of the rite had done, 
Rejoiced their ready zeal to see, 
Thus to the craftsmen all said he: 

89 Kekaya is supposed to have been in the Panjab. The name of the king was 
Asvapati (Lord of Horses), father of Dasaratha's wife Kaikeyi. 

90 Sural. 

91 Apparently in the west of India not far from the Indus. 

Canto XIII. The Sacrifice Finished. 69 

"I charge ye, masters, see to this, 
That there be nothing done amiss, 
And this, I pray, in mind be borne, 
That not one gift ye give in scorn: 
Whenever scorn a gift attends 
Great sin is his who thus offends." 

And now some days and nights had past, 
And kings began to gather fast, 
And precious gems in liberal store 
As gifts to Dasaratha bore. 
Then joy thrilled through Vasishtha's breast 
As thus the monarch he addressed: 
"Obedient to thy high decree 

The kings, my lord, are come to thee. [022] 

And it has been my care to greet 
And honour all with reverence meet. 
Thy servants' task is ended quite, 
And all is ready for the rite. 
Come forth then to the sacred ground 
Where all in order will be found." 
Then Rishyasring confirmed the tale: 
Nor did their words to move him fail. 
The stars propitious influence lent 
When forth the world's great ruler went. 

Then by the sage Vasishtha led 
The priest begun to speed 

Those glorious rites wherein is shed 
The lifeblood of the steed. 

Canto XIII. The Sacrifice Finished. 

70 The Ramayana 

The circling year had filled its course, 

And back was brought the wandering horse: 

Then upon Sarju's northern strand 

Began the rite the king had planned. 

With Rishyasring the forms to guide, 

The Brahmans to their task applied, 

At that great offering of the steed 

Their lofty-minded king decreed. 

The priests, who all the Scripture knew, 

Performed their part in order due, 

And circled round in solemn train 

As precepts of the law ordain. 

Pravargya rites 92 were duly sped: 

For Upasads 93 the flames were fed. 

Then from the plant 94 the juice was squeezed, 

And those high saints with minds well pleased 

Performed the mystic rites begun 

With bathing ere the rise of sun 

They gave the portion Indra's claim, 

And hymned the King whom none can blame. 

The mid-day bathing followed next, 

Observed as bids the holy text. 

Then the good priests with utmost care, 

In form that Scripture's rules declare, 

92 "The Pravargya ceremony lasts for three days, and is always performed 
twice a day, in the forenoon and afternoon. It precedes the animal and Soma 
sacrifices. For without having undergone it, no one is allowed to take part in 
the solemn Soma feast prepared for the gods." Haug's Aitareya Brdhmanam. 
Vol. II. p. 41. note q.v. 

93 Upasads. "The Gods said, Let us perform the burnt offerings called Upasads 
(i.e. besieging). For by means of an Upasad, i.e. besieging, they conquer a 
large (fortified) town." — Ibid. p. 32. 

94 The Soma plant, or Asclepias Acida. Its fermented juice was drunk in 
sacrifice by the priests and offered to the Gods who enjoyed the intoxicating 

Canto XIII. The Sacrifice Finished. 71 

For the third time pure water shed 

On high souled Dasaratha's head. 

Then Rishyasring and all the rest 

To Indra and the Gods addressed 

Their sweet-toned hymn of praise and prayer, 

And called them in the rite to share. 

With sweetest song and hymn entoned 

They gave the Gods in heaven enthroned, 

As duty bids, the gifts they claim, 

The holy oil that feeds the flame. 

And many an offering there was paid, 

And not one slip in all was made. 

For with most careful heed they saw 

That all was done by Veda law. 

None, all those days, was seen oppressed 

By hunger or by toil distressed. 

Why speak of human kind? No beast 

Was there that lacked an ample feast. 

For there was store for all who came, 

For orphan child and lonely dame; 

The old and young were well supplied, 

The poor and hungry satisfied. 

Throughout the day ascetics fed, 

And those who roam to beg their bread: 

While all around the cry was still, 

"Give forth, give forth," and "Eat your fill." 

"Give forth with liberal hand the meal, 

And various robes in largess deal." 

Urged by these cries on every side 

Unweariedly their task they plied: 

And heaps of food like hills in size 

In boundless plenty met the eyes: 

And lakes of sauce, each day renewed, 

Refreshed the weary multitude. 

72 The Ramayana 

And strangers there from distant lands, 
And women folk in crowded bands 
The best of food and drink obtained 
At the great rite the king ordained. 
Apart from all, the Brahmans there, 
Thousands on thousands, took their share 
Of various dainties sweet to taste, 
On plates of gold and silver placed, 
All ready set, as, when they willed, 
The twice-born men their places filled. 
And servants in fair garments dressed 
Waited upon each Brahman guest. 
Of cheerful mind and mien were they, 
With gold and jewelled earrings gay. 
The best of Brahmans praised the fare 
Of countless sorts, of flavour rare: 
And thus to Raghu's son they cried: 
"We bless thee, and are satisfied." 
Between the rites some Brahmans spent 
[023] The time in learned argument, 

With ready flow of speech, sedate, 
And keen to vanquish in debate. 95 
There day by day the holy train 
Performed all rites as rules ordain. 
No priest in all that host was found 

95 "Turn in c£erimoniarum intervallis Brachmanae facundi, sollertes, crebros 
sermones de rerum causis instituebant, alter alterum vincendi cupidi. This 
public disputation in the assembly of Brahmans on the nature of things, and the 
almost fraternal connexion between theology and philosophy deserves some 
notice; whereas the priests of some religions are generally but little inclined 
to show favour to philosophers, nay, sometimes persecute them with the most 
rancorous hatred, as we are taught both by history and experience.... This 
sloka is found in the MSS. of different recensions of the Ramayan, and we 
have, therefore, the most trustworthy testimony to the antiquity of philosophy 
among the Indians." SCHLEGEL{FNS. 

Canto XIII. The Sacrifice Finished. 73 

But kept the vows that held him bound: 
None, but the holy Vedas knew, 
And all their six-fold science 96 too. 
No Brahman there was found unfit 
To speak with eloquence and wit. 

And now the appointed time came near 
The sacrificial posts to rear. 
They brought them, and prepared to fix 
Of Bel 97 and Khadir 98 six and six; 
Six, made of the Palasa 99 tree, 
Of Fig-wood one, apart to be: 
Of Sleshmat 100 and of Devadar 101 
One column each, the mightiest far: 
So thick the two, the arms of man 
Their ample girth would fail to span. 
All these with utmost care were wrought 
By hand of priests in Scripture taught, 
And all with gold were gilded bright 
To add new splendour to the rite: 
Twenty-and-one those stakes in all, 
Each one-and-twenty cubits tall: 
And one-and-twenty ribbons there 
Hung on the pillars, bright and fair. 

96 The Angas or appendices of the Vedas, pronunciation, prosody, grammar, 
ritual, astronomy, and explanation of obscurities. 

97 In Sanskrit vilva, the JEgle Marmelos. "He who desires food and wishes 
to grow fat, ought to make his Yiipa (sacrificial post) of Bilva wood." Haug's 
Aitareya Brdhmanam. Vol. II. p. 73. 

98 The Mimosa Catechu. "He who desires heaven ought to make his Yiipa of 
Khadira wood." — Ibid. 

99 The Butea Frondosa. "He who desires beauty and sacred knowledge ought 
to make his Yupa of Palasa wood." — Ibid. 

The Cardia Latifolia. 
101 A ki nd of pine. The wo rd means literally the tree of the Gods. Compare the 
Hebrew I Hrlrccs of the Lord." 

74 The Ramayana 

Firm in the earth they stood at last, 

Where cunning craftsmen fixed them fast; 

And there unshaken each remained, 

Octagonal and smoothly planed. 

Then ribbons over all were hung, 

And flowers and scent around them flung. 

Thus decked they cast a glory forth 

Like the great saints who star the north. 102 

The sacrificial altar then 

Was raised by skilful twice-born men, 

In shape and figure to behold 

An eagle with his wings of gold, 

With twice nine pits and formed three-fold 

Each for some special God, beside 

The pillars were the victims tied; 

The birds that roam the wood, the air, 

The water, and the land were there, 

And snakes and things of reptile birth, 

And healing herbs that spring from earth: 

As texts prescribe, in Scripture found, 

Three hundred victims there were bound. 

The steed devoted to the host 

Of Gods, the gem they honour most, 

Was duly sprinkled. Then the Queen 

Kausalya, with delighted mien, 

With reverent steps around him paced, 

And with sweet wreaths the victim graced; 

Then with three swords in order due 

She smote the steed with joy, and slew. 

That night the queen, a son to gain, 

With calm and steady heart was fain 

By the dead charger's side to stay 

102 The Hindus call the constellation of Ursa Major the Seven Rishis or Saints. 

Canto XIII. The Sacrifice Finished. 75 

From evening till the break of day. 

Then came three priests, their care to lead 

The other queens to touch the steed, 

Upon Kausalya to attend, 

Their company and aid to lend. 

As by the horse she still reclined, 

With happy mien and cheerful mind, 

With Rishyasring the twice-born came 

And praised and blessed the royal dame. 

The priest who well his duty knew, 

And every sense could well subdue, 

From out the bony chambers freed 

And boiled the marrow of the steed. 

Above the steam the monarch bent, 

And, as he smelt the fragrant scent, 

In time and order drove afar 

All error that his hopes could mar. 

Then sixteen priests together came 

And cast into the sacred flame 

The severed members of the horse, 

Made ready all in ordered course. 

On piles of holy Fig-tree raised [024] 

The meaner victims' bodies blazed: 

The steed, of all the creatures slain, 

Alone required a pile of cane. 

Three days, as is by law decreed, 

Lasted that Offering of the Steed. 

The Chatushtom began the rite, 

And when the sun renewed his light, 

The Ukthya followed: after came 

The Atiratra's holy flame. 

These were the rites, and many more 

Arranged by light of holy lore, 

The Aptoryam of mighty power, 

76 The Ramayana 

And, each performed in proper hour, 

The Abhijit and Visvajit 

With every form and service fit; 

And with the sacrifice at night 

The Jyotishtom and Ayus rite. 103 The Atiratra, literally 

lasting through the night, is a division of the 
service of the Jyotishtoma. 
The Abhijit, the everywhere victorious, is the name of a 
sub-division of the great sacrifice of the 
The Visvajit, or the all-conquering, is a similar sub-division. 
Ayus is the name of a service forming a division of the 

Abhiplava sacrifice. 
The Aptorydm, is the seventh or last part of the Jyotishtoma, 
for the performance of which it is not essentially 
necessary, but a voluntary sacrifice instituted for 
the attainment of a specific desire. The literal 
meaning of the word would be in conformity 
with the Praudhamanoramd, "a sacrifice which 
procures the attainment of the desired object." 


103 A minute account of these ancient ceremonies would be out of place here. 
"Agnishtoma is the name of a sacrifice, or rather a series of offerings to fire for 
five days. It is the first and principal part of the Jyotishtoma, one of the great 
sacrifices in which especially the juice of the Soma plant is offered for the pur- 
pose of obtaining Swarga or heaven." GOLDSTUCKER'S DICTIONARYJFNS. 
"The Agnishtoma is Agni. It is called so because they (the gods) praised him 
with this Stoma. They called it so to hide the proper meaning of the word: for 
the gods like to hide the proper meaning of words." 

"On account of four classes of gods having praised Agni with four Stomas, 
the whole was called Chatushtoma (containing four Stomas)." 

"It (the Agnishtoma) is called Jyotishtoma, for they praised Agni when he 
had risen up (to the sky) in the shape of a light (jyotis)." 

"This (Agnishtoma) is a sacrificial performance which has no beginning 
and no end." HAUG'S{FNS Aitareya Brdhmanam. 

Canto XIII. The Sacrifice Finished. 77 

"The Ukthya is a slight modification of the Agnishtoma sac- 
rifice. The noun to be supplied to it is kratu. It 
is a Soma sacrifice also, and one of the seven 
Sansthas or component parts of the Jyotishtoma. 
Its name indicates its nature. For Ukthya means 
'what refers to the Uktha,' which is an older name 
for Shastra, i.e. recitation of one of the Hotri 
priests at the time of the Soma libations. Thus 
this sacrifice is only a kind of supplement to the 
Agnishtoma." Haug{fns. Ai. B. 
The task was done, as laws prescribe: 

The monarch, glory of his tribe, 

Bestowed the land in liberal grants 

Upon the sacred ministrants. 

He gave the region of the east, 

His conquest, to the Hotri priest. 

The west, the celebrant obtained: 

The south, the priest presiding gained: 

The northern region was the share 

Of him who chanted forth the prayer, 104 

Thus did each priest obtain his meed 

At the great Slaughter of the Steed, 

Ordained, the best of all to be, 

104 "Four classes of priests were required in India at the most solemn sacrifices. 
1. The officiating priests, manual labourers, and acolytes, who had chiefly to 
prepare the sacrificial ground, to dress the altar, slay the victims, and pour out 
the libations. 2. The choristers, who chant the sacred hymns. 3. The reciters 
or readers, who repeat certain hymns. 4. The overseers or bishops, who watch 
and superintend the proceedings of the other priests, and ought to be familiar 
with all the Vedas. The formulas and verses to be muttered by the first class 
are contained in the Yajur-veda-sanhita. The hymns to be sung by the second 
class are in the Sama-veda-sanhita. The Atharva-veda is said to be intended for 
the Brahman or overseer, who is to watch the proceedings of the sacrifice, and 
to remedy any mistake that may occur. The hymns to be recited by the third 
class are contained in the Rigveda," Chips from a German Workshop. 

78 The Ramayana 

By self-existent deity. 
Ikshvaku's son with joyful mind 
This noble fee to each assigned, 
But all the priests with one accord 
Addressed that unpolluted lord: 
"Tis thine alone to keep the whole 
[025] Of this broad earth in firm control. 

No gift of lands from thee we seek: 
To guard these realms our hands were weak. 
On sacred lore our days are spent: 
Let other gifts our wants content." 

The chief of old Ikshvaku's line 
Gave them ten hundred thousand kine, 
A hundred millions of fine gold, 
The same in silver four times told. 
But every priest in presence there 
With one accord resigned his share. 
To Saint Vasishtha, high of soul, 
And Rishyasring they gave the whole. 
That largess pleased those Brahmans well, 
Who bade the prince his wishes tell. 
Then Dasaratha, mighty king, 
Made answer thus to Rishyasring: 
"O holy Hermit, of thy grace, 
Vouchsafe the increase of my race." 
He spoke; nor was his prayer denied: 
The best of Brahmans thus replied: 
"Four sons, O Monarch, shall be thine, 
Upholders of thy royal line." 

Canto XIV. Ravan Doomed. 79 

Canto XIV. Ravan Doomed. 

The saint, well read in holy lore, 
Pondered awhile his answer o'er, 
And thus again addressed the king, 
His wandering thoughts regathering: 
"Another rite will I begin 
Which shall the sons thou cravest win, 
Where all things shall be duly sped 
And first Atharva texts be read." 

Then by Vibhandak's gentle son 
Was that high sacrifice begun, 
The king's advantage seeking still 
And zealous to perform his will. 
Now all the Gods had gathered there, 
Each one for his allotted share: 
Brahma, the ruler of the sky, 
Sthanu, Narayan, Lord most high, 
And holy Indra men might view 
With Maruts 105 for his retinue; 
The heavenly chorister, and saint, 
And spirit pure from earthly taint, 
With one accord had sought the place 
The high-souled monarch's rite to grace. 
Then to the Gods who came to take 
Their proper share the hermit spake: 
"For you has Dasaratha slain 
The votive steed, a son to gain; 
Stern penance-rites the king has tried, 
And in firm faith on you relied, 

105 The Maruts are the winds, deified in the religion of the Veda like other 
mighty powers and phenomena of nature. 

80 The Ramayana 

And now with undiminished care 
A second rite would fain prepare. 
But, O ye Gods, consent to grant 
The longing of your supplicant. 
For him beseeching hands I lift, 
And pray you all to grant the gift, 
That four fair sons of high renown 
The offerings of the king may crown." 
They to the hermit's son replied: 
"His longing shall be gratified. 
For, Brahman, in most high degree 
We love the king and honour thee." 

These words the Gods in answer said, 
And vanished thence by Indra led. 
Thus to the Lord, the worlds who made, 
The Immortals all assembled prayed: 
"O Brahma, mighty by thy grace, 
Ravan, who rules the giant race, 
Torments us in his senseless pride, 
And penance-loving saints beside. 
For thou well pleased in days of old 
Gavest the boon that makes him bold, 
That God nor demon e'er should kill 
His charmed life, for so thy will. 
We, honouring that high behest, 
Bear all his rage though sore distressed. 
That lord of giants fierce and fell 
Scourges the earth and heaven and hell. 
Mad with thy boon, his impious rage 
Smites saint and bard and God and sage. 
The sun himself withholds his glow, 
The wind in fear forbears to blow; 
The fire restrains his wonted heat 

Canto XIV. Ravan Doomed. 8 1 

Where stand the dreaded Ravan's feet, 
And, necklaced with the wandering wave, 
The sea before him fears to rave. 
Kuvera's self in sad defeat 
Is driven from his blissful seat. 
We see, we feel the giant's might, 
And woe comes o'er us and affright. 
To thee, O Lord, thy suppliants pray 
To find some cure this plague to stay." 

Thus by the gathered Gods addressed 
He pondered in his secret breast, 
And said: "One only way I find 
To slay this fiend of evil mind. 
He prayed me once his life to guard 
From demon, God, and heavenly bard, 
And spirits of the earth and air, 
And I consenting heard his prayer. 
But the proud giant in his scorn 
Recked not of man of woman born. 
None else may take his life away, 
But only man the fiend may slay." 
The Gods, with Indra at their head, 
Rejoiced to hear the words he said. 
Then crowned with glory like a flame, 
Lord Vishnu to the council came; 
His hands shell, mace, and discus bore, 

And saffron were the robes he wore. [026] 

Riding his eagle through the crowd, 
As the sun rides upon a cloud, 
With bracelets of fine gold, he came 
Loud welcomed by the Gods' acclaim. 
His praise they sang with one consent, 
And cried, in lowly reverence bent: 

82 The Ramayana 

"O Lord whose hand fierce Madhu 106 slew, 
Be thou our refuge, firm and true; 
Friend of the suffering worlds art thou, 
We pray thee help thy suppliants now." 
Then Vishnu spake: "Ye Gods, declare, 
What may I do to grant your prayer?" 

"King Dasaratha," thus cried they, 
"Fervent in penance many a day, 
The sacrificial steed has slain, 
Longing for sons, but all in vain. 
Now, at the cry of us forlorn, 
Incarnate as his seed be born. 
Three queens has he: each lovely dame 
Like Beauty, Modesty, or Fame. 
Divide thyself in four, and be 
His offspring by these noble three. 
Man's nature take, and slay in fight 
Ravan who laughs at heavenly might: 
This common scourge, this rankling thorn 
Whom the three worlds too long have borne 
For Ravan in the senseless pride 
Of might unequalled has defied 
The host of heaven, and plagues with woe 
Angel and bard and saint below, 
Crushing each spirit and each maid 
Who plays in Nandan's 107 heavenly shade. 
O conquering Lord, to thee we bow; 
Our surest hope and trust art thou. 
Regard the world of men below, 
And slay the Gods' tremendous foe." 

106 j^ j jj an or fi en[ j whose destruction has given Vishnu one of his well-known 
titles, Madhava. 

107 The garden of Indra. 

Canto XIV. Ravan Doomed. 83 

When thus the suppliant Gods had prayed, 
His wise reply Narayan 108 made: 
"What task demands my presence there, 
And whence this dread, ye Gods declare." 

The Gods replied: "We fear, O Lord, 
Fierce Ravan, ravener abhorred. 
Be thine the glorious task, we pray, 
In human form this fiend to slay. 
By thee of all the Blest alone 
This sinner may be overthrown. 
He gained by penance long and dire 
The favour of the mighty Sire. 
Then He who every gift bestows 
Guarded the fiend from heavenly foes, 
And gave a pledge his life that kept 
From all things living, man except. 
On him thus armed no other foe 
Than man may deal the deadly blow. 
Assume, O King, a mortal birth, 
And strike the demon to the earth." 

Then Vishnu, God of Gods, the Lord 
Supreme by all the worlds adored, 
To Brahma and the suppliants spake: 
"Dismiss your fear: for your dear sake 
In battle will I smite him dead, 
The cruel fiend, the Immortal's dread. 
And lords and ministers and all 
His kith and kin with him shall fall. 
Then, in the world of mortal men, 

108 One of the most ancient and popular of the numerous names of Vishnu. The 
word has been derived in several ways, and may mean he who moved on the 
(primordial) waters, or he who pervades or influences men or their thoughts. 

84 The Ramayana 

Ten thousand years and hundreds ten 

I as a human king will reign, 

And guard the earth as my domain." 

God, saint, and nymph, and minstrel throng 
With heavenly voices raised their song 
In hymns of triumph to the God 
Whose conquering feet on Madhu trod: 
"Champion of Gods, as man appear, 

This cruel Ravan slay, 
The thorn that saints and hermits fear, 

The plague that none can stay. 
In savage fury uncontrolled 
His pride for ever grows: 
He dares the Lord of Gods to hold 
Among his deadly foes." 

Canto XV. The Nectar. 

When wisest Vishnu thus had given 
His promise to the Gods of heaven, 
He pondered in his secret mind 
A suited place of birth to find, 
Then he decreed, the lotus-eyed, 
In four his being to divide, 
And Dasaratha, gracious king, 
He chose as sire from whom to spring. 
That childless prince of high renown, 
Who smote in war his foemen down, 
At that same time with utmost care 

Canto XV. The Nectar. 85 

Prepared the rite that wins an heir. 109 
Then Vishnu, fain on earth to dwell, 
Bade the Almighty Sire farewell, 
And vanished while a reverent crowd 
Of Gods and saints in worship bowed. 

The monarch watched the sacred rite, 
When a vast form of awful might, 
Of matchless splendour, strength, and size 

Was manifest before his eyes. [027] 

From forth the sacrificial flame, 
Dark, robed in red, the being came. 
His voice was drumlike, loud and low, 
His face suffused with rosy glow. 
Like a huge lion's mane appeared 
The long locks of his hair and beard. 
He shone with many a lucky sign, 
And many an ornament divine; 
A towering mountain in his height, 
A tiger in his gait and might. 
No precious mine more rich could be, 
No burning flame more bright than he. 
His arms embraced in loving hold, 
Like a dear wife, a vase of gold 
Whose silver lining held a draught 
Of nectar as in heaven is quaffed: 
A vase so vast, so bright to view, 
They scarce could count the vision true. 
Upon the king his eyes he bent, 
And said: "The Lord of life has sent 
His servant down, O Prince, to be 
A messenger from heaven to thee." 
The king with all his nobles by 

109 The Horse-Sacrifice, just described. 

The Ramayana 

Raised reverent hands and made reply: 
"Welcome, O glorious being! Say 
How can my care thy grace repay." 
Envoy of Him whom all adore 
Thus to the king he spake once more: 
"The Gods accept thy worship: they 
Give thee the blessed fruit to-day. 
Approach and take, O glorious King, 
This heavenly nectar which I bring, 
For it shall give thee sons and wealth, 
And bless thee with a store of health. 
Give it to those fair queens of thine, 
And bid them quaff the drink divine: 
And they the princely sons shall bear 
Long sought by sacrifice and prayer." 

"Yea, O my lord," the monarch said, 
And took the vase upon his head, 
The gift of Gods, of fine gold wrought, 
With store of heavenly liquor fraught. 
He honoured, filled with transport new, 
That wondrous being, fair to view, 
As round the envoy of the God 
With reverential steps he trod. 110 
His errand done, that form of light 

To walk round an object keeping the right side towards it is a mark of 
great respect. The Sanskrit word for the observance is pradakshind, from pra 
pro, and daksha right, Greek Se^ioc,, Latin dexter, Gaelic deas-il. A similar 
ceremony is observed by the Gaels. 

"In the meantime she traced around him, with wavering steps, the propitia- 
tion, which some have thought has been derived from the Druidical mythology. 
It consists, as is well known, in the person who makes the deasil walking three 
times round the person who is the object of the ceremony, taking care to move 
according to the course of the sun." 

SCOTT{FNS. The Two Drovers. 

Canto XV. The Nectar. 87 

Arose and vanished from the sight. 
High rapture filled the monarch's soul, 
Possessed of that celestial bowl, 
As when a man by want distressed 
With unexpected wealth is blest. 
And rays of transport seemed to fall 
Illuminating bower and hall, 
As when the autumn moon rides high, 
And floods with lovely light the sky. 
Quick to the ladies' bower he sped, 
And thus to Queen Kausalya said: 
"This genial nectar take and quaff," 
He spoke, and gave the lady half. 
Part of the nectar that remained 
Sumitra from his hand obtained. 
He gave, to make her fruitful too, 
Kaikeyi half the residue. 
A portion yet remaining there, 

He paused awhile to think. 
Then gave Sumitra, with her share. 

The remnant of the drink. 
Thus on each queen of those fair three 

A part the king bestowed, 
And with sweet hope a child to see 

Their yearning bosoms glowed. 
The heavenly bowl the king supplied 

Their longing souls relieved, 
And soon, with rapture and with pride, 

Each royal dame conceived. 
He gazed upon each lady's face, 

And triumphed as he gazed, 
As Indra in his royal place 

By Gods and spirits praised. 

The Ramayana 

Canto XVI. The Vanars. 

When Vishnu thus had gone on earth, 
From the great king to take his birth, 
The self-existent Lord of all 
Addressed the Gods who heard his call: 
"For Vishnu's sake, the strong and true, 
Who seeks the good of all of you, 
Make helps, in war to lend him aid, 
In forms that change at will, arrayed, 
Of wizard skill and hero might, 
Outstrippers of the wind in flight, 
Skilled in the arts of counsel, wise, 
And Vishnu's peers in bold emprise; 
With heavenly arts and prudence fraught, 
By no devices to be caught; 
Skilled in all weapon's lore and use 
[028] As they who drink the immortal juice. 1 1 l 

And let the nymphs supreme in grace, 
And maidens of the minstrel race, 
Monkeys and snakes, and those who rove 
Free spirits of the hill and grove, 
And wandering Daughters of the Air, 
In monkey form brave children bear. 
So erst the lord of bears I shaped, 
Born from my mouth as wide I gaped." 

The Amrit, the nectar of the Indian Gods. 

Canto XVI. The Vanars. 89 

Thus by the mighty Sire addressed 
They all obeyed his high behest, 
And thus begot in countless swarms 
Brave sons disguised in sylvan forms. 
Each God, each sage became a sire, 
Each minstrel of the heavenly quire, 112 
Each faun, 113 of children strong and good 
Whose feet should roam the hill and wood. 
Snakes, bards, 114 and spirits, 115 serpents bold 
Had sons too numerous to be told. 
Bali, the woodland hosts who led, 
High as Mahendra's 116 lofty head, 
Was Indra's child. That noblest fire, 
The Sun, was great Sugriva's sire, 
Tara, the mighty monkey, he 
Was offspring of Vrihaspati: 117 
Tara the matchless chieftain, boast 
For wisdom of the Vanar host. 
Of Gandhamadan brave and bold 
The father was the Lord of Gold. 

112 Gandharvas (Southey's Glendoveers) are celestial musicians inhabiting In- 
dra's heaven and forming the orchestra at all the banquets of the principal 

113 Yakshas, demigods attendant especially on Kuvera, and employed by him 
in the care of his garden and treasures. 

114 Kimpurushas, demigods attached also to the service of Kuvera, celestial 
musicians, represented like centaurs reversed with human figures and horses' 

115 Siddhas, demigods or spirits of undefined attributes, occupying with the 
Vidyddharas the middle air or region between the earth and the sun. 

Schlegel translates: "Divi, Sapientes, Fidicines, Praepetes, illustres Genii, 
Praconesque procrearunt natos, masculos, silvicolas; angues porro, Hip- 
pocephali Beati, Aligeri, Serpentesque frequentes alacriter generavere prolem 

116 A mountain in the south of India. 

117 The preceptor of the Gods and regent of the planet Jupiter. 

90 The Ramayana 

Nala the mighty, dear to fame, 

Of skilful Visvakarma 118 came. 

From Agni, 119 Nila bright as flame, 

Who in his splendour, might, and worth, 

Surpassed the sire who gave him birth. 

The heavenly Asvins, 120 swift and fair, 

Were fathers of a noble pair, 

Who, Dwivida and Mainda named, 

For beauty like their sires were famed, 

Varun 121 was father of Sushen, 

Of Sarabh, he who sends the rain, 122 

Hanuman, best of monkey kind, 

Was son of him who breathes the wind: 

Like thunderbolt in frame was he, 

And swift as Garud's 123 self could flee. 

These thousands did the Gods create 

Endowed with might that none could mate, 

In monkey forms that changed at will; 

So strong their wish the fiend to kill. 

In mountain size, like lions thewed, 

Up sprang the wondrous multitude, 

Auxiliar hosts in every shape, 

Monkey and bear and highland ape. 

In each the strength, the might, the mien 

Of his own parent God were seen. 

118 The celestial architect, the Indian Hephaestus, Mulciber, or Vulcan. 

119 The God of Fire. 

120 Twin children of the Sun, the physicians of Swarga or Indra's heaven. 

121 The deity of the waters. 

122 Parjanya, sometimes confounded with Indra. 

123 The bird and vehicle of Vishnu. He is generally represented as a being 
something between a man and a bird and considered as the sovereign of the 
feathered race. He may be compared with the Simurgh of the Persians, the 
Anka of the Arabs, the Griffin of chivalry, the Phcenix of Egypt, and the bird 
that sits upon the ash Yggdrasil of the Edda. 

Canto XVI. The Vanars. 91 

Some chiefs of Vanar mothers came, 

Some of she-bear and minstrel dame, 

Skilled in all arms in battle's shock; 

The brandished tree, the loosened rock; 

And prompt, should other weapons fail, 

To fight and slay with tooth and nail. 

Their strength could shake the hills amain, 

And rend the rooted trees in twain, 

Disturb with their impetuous sweep 

The Rivers' Lord, the Ocean deep, 

Rend with their feet the seated ground, 

And pass wide floods with airy bound, 

Or forcing through the sky their way 

The very clouds by force could stay. 

Mad elephants that wander through 

The forest wilds, could they subdue, 

And with their furious shout could scare 

Dead upon earth the birds of air. 

So were the sylvan chieftains formed; 

Thousands on thousands still they swarmed. 

These were the leaders honoured most, 

The captains of the Vanar host, 

And to each lord and chief and guide 

Was monkey offspring born beside. 

Then by the bears' great monarch stood 

The other roamers of the wood, [029] 

And turned, their pathless homes to seek, 

To forest and to mountain peak. 

The leaders of the monkey band 

By the two brothers took their stand, 

Sugriva, offspring of the Sun 

And Bali, Indra's mighty one. 

They both endowed with Garud's might, 

And skilled in all the arts of fight, 

92 The Ramayana 

Wandered in arms the forest through, 
And lions, snakes, and tigers, slew. 
But every monkey, ape, and bear 
Ever was Bali's special care; 
With his vast strength and mighty arm 
He kept them from all scathe and harm. 
And so the earth with hill, wood, seas, 
Was filled with mighty ones like these, 
Of various shape and race and kind, 
With proper homes to each assigned, 
With Rama's champions fierce and strong 

The earth was overspread, 
High as the hills and clouds, a throng 

With bodies vast and dread. 124 

Canto XVII. Rishyasring's Return. 

Now when the high-souled monarch's rite, 
The Asvamedh, was finished quite, 
Their sacrificial dues obtained, 
The Gods their heavenly homes regained. 
The lofty-minded saints withdrew, 
Each to his place, with honour due, 
And kings and chieftains, one and all, 

124 This Canto will appear ridiculous to the European reader. But it should 
be remembered that the monkeys of an Indian forest, the "bough-deer" as the 
poets call them, are very different animals from the "turpissima bestia" that 
accompanies the itinerant organ-grinder or grins in the Zoological Gardens of 
London. Milton has made his hero, Satan, assume the forms of a cormorant, a 
toad, and a serpent, and I cannot see that this creation of semi-divine Vanars, 
or monkeys, is more ridiculous or undignified. 

Canto XVII. Rishyasring's Return. 93 

Who came to grace the festival. 
And Dasaratha, ere they went, 
Addressed them thus benevolent: 
"Now may you, each with joyful heart, 
To your own realms, O Kings, depart. 
Peace and good luck attend you there, 
And blessing, is my friendly prayer; 
Let cares of state each mind engage 
To guard his royal heritage. 
A monarch from his throne expelled 
No better than the dead is held. 
So he who cares for power and might 
Must guard his realm and royal right. 
Such care a meed in heaven will bring 
Better than rites and offering. 
Such care a king his country owes 
As man upon himself bestows, 
When for his body he provides 
Raiment and every need besides. 
For future days should kings foresee, 
And keep the present error-free." 

Thus did the king the kings exhort: 
They heard, and turned them from the court 
And, each to each in friendship bound, 
Went forth to all the realms around. 
The rites were o'er, the guests were sped: 
The train the best of Brahmans led, 
In which the king with joyful soul, 
With his dear wives, and with the whole 
Of his imperial host and train 
Of cars and servants turned again, 
And, as a monarch dear to fame, 
Within his royal city came. 

94 The Ramayana 

Next, Rishyasring, well-honoured sage, 
And Santa, sought their hermitage. 
The king himself, of prudent mind, 
Attended him, with troops behind. 
And all her men the town outpoured 
With Saint Vasishtha and their lord. 
High mounted on a car of state, 
O'er canopied fair Santa sate. 
Drawn by white oxen, while a band 
Of servants marched on either hand. 
Great gifts of countless price she bore, 
With sheep and goats and gems in store. 
Like Beauty's self the lady shone 
With all the jewels she had on, 
As, happy in her sweet content, 
Peerless amid the fair she went. 
Not Queen Paulomfs 125 self could be 
More loving to her lord than she. 
She who had lived in happy ease, 
Honoured with all her heart could please, 
While dames and kinsfolk ever vied 
To see her wishes gratified, 
Soon as she knew her husband's will 
Again to seek the forest, still 
Was ready for the hermit's cot, 
Nor murmured at her altered lot. 
The king attended to the wild 
That hermit and his own dear child, 
And in the centre of a throng 
Of noble courtiers rode along. 
The sage's son had let prepare 
A lodge within the wood, and there 

125 The consort of Indra, called also Sachf and Indranf. 

Canto XVII. Rishyasring's Return. 95 

While they lingered blithe and gay. 
Then, duly honoured, went their way. 
The glorious hermit Rishyasring 
Drew near and thus besought the king: 

"Return, my honoured lord, I pray, 
Return, upon thy homeward way." 
The monarch, with the waiting crowd, 
Lifted his voice and wept aloud, 
And with eyes dripping still to each 
Of his good queens he spake this speech: 

"Kausalya and Sumitra dear, 
And thou, my sweet Kaikeyi, hear. 
All upon Santa feast your gaze, 
The last time for a length of days." 
To Santa's arms the ladies leapt, 
And hung about her neck and wept, 
And cried, "O, happy be the life 
Of this great Brahman and his wife. 
The Wind, the Fire, the Moon on high, 
The Earth, the Streams, the circling Sky, 
Preserve thee in the wood, true spouse, 
Devoted to thy husband's vows. 
And O dear Santa, ne'er neglect 
To pay the dues of meek respect 
To the great saint, thy husband's sire, 
With all observance and with fire. 
And, sweet one, pure of spot and blame, 
Forget not thou thy husband's claim; 
In every change, in good and ill, 
Let thy sweet words delight him still, 
And let thy worship constant be: 
Her lord is woman's deity. 


96 The Ramayana 

To learn thy welfare, dearest friend, 
The king will many a Brahman send. 
Let happy thoughts thy spirit cheer, 
And be not troubled, daughter dear." 

These soothing words the ladies said. 
And pressed their lips upon her head. 
Each gave with sighs her last adieu, 
Then at the king's command withdrew. 
The king around the hermit went 
With circling footsteps reverent, 
And placed at Rishyasring's command 
Some soldiers of his royal band. 
The Brahman bowed in turn and cried, 
"May fortune never leave thy side. 
O mighty King, with justice reign, 
And still thy people's love retain." 
He spoke, and turned away his face, 

And, as the hermit went, 
The monarch, rooted to the place, 

Pursued with eyes intent. 
But when the sage had past from view 
King Dasaratha turned him too, 
Still fixing on his friend each thought. 
With such deep love his breast was fraught. 
Amid his people's loud acclaim 
Home to his royal seat he came, 

And lived delighted there, 
Expecting when each queenly dame, 
Upholder of his ancient fame, 

Her promised son should bear. 
The glorious sage his way pursued 
Till close before his eyes he viewed 
Sweet Champa, Lomapad's fair town, 

Canto XVIII. Rishyasring's Departure. 97 

Wreathed with her Champacs' 126 leafy crown. 

Soon as the saint's approach he knew, 

The king, to yield him honour due, 

Went forth to meet him with a band 

Of priests and nobles of the land: 

"Hail, Sage," he cried, "O joy to me! 

What bliss it is, my lord, to see 

Thee with thy wife and all thy train 

Returning to my town again. 

Thy father, honoured Sage, is well, 

Who hither from his woodland cell 

Has sent full many a messenger 

For tidings both of thee and her." 

Then joyfully, for due respect, 

The monarch bade the town be decked. 

The king and Rishyasring elate 

Entered the royal city's gate: 

In front the chaplain rode. 
Then, loved and honoured with all care 
By monarch and by courtier, there 

The glorious saint abode. 

Canto XVIII. Rishyasring's Departure. 

126 The Michelia champaca. It bears a scented yellow blossom: 

"The maid of India blest again to hold 

In her full lap the Champac's leaves of gold." 

Lallah Rookh. 

98 The Ramayana 

The monarch called a Brahman near 

And said, "Now speed away 
To Kasyap's son, 127 the mighty seer, 

And with all reverence say 
The holy child he holds so dear, 
The hermit of the noble mind, 
Whose equal it were hard to find, 

Returned, is dwelling here. 
Go, and instead of me do thou 
Before that best of hermits bow, 
That still he may, for his dear son, 
Show me the favour I have won." 
Soon as the king these words had said, 
To Kasyap's son the Brahman sped. 
Before the hermit low he bent 
And did obeisance, reverent; 
Then with meek words his grace to crave 
The message of his lord he gave: 
"The high-souled father of his bride 
Had called thy son his rites to guide: 
Those rites are o'er, the steed is slain; 
Thy noble child is come again." 

Soon as the saint that speech had heard 
His spirit with desire was stirred 
To seek the city of the king 
[031] And to his cot his son to bring. 

With young disciples at his side 
Forth on his way the hermit hied, 
While peasants from their hamlets ran 
To reverence the holy man. 
Each with his little gift of food, 
Forth came the village multitude, 

127 Vibhandak, the father of Rishyasring 

Canto XVIII. Rishyasring's Departure. 99 

And, as they humbly bowed the head, 

"What may we do for thee?" they said. 

Then he, of Brahmans first and best, 

The gathered people thus addressed: 

"Now tell me for I fain would know, 

Why is it I am honoured so?" 

They to the high-souled saint replied: 

"Our ruler is with thee allied. 

Our master's order we fulfil; 

O Brahman, let thy mind be still." 

With joy the saintly hermit heard 
Each pleasant and delightful word, 
And poured a benediction down 
On king and ministers and town. 
Glad at the words of that high saint 
Some servants hastened to acquaint 
Their king, rejoicing to impart 
The tidings that would cheer his heart. 
Soon as the joyful tale he knew 
To meet the saint the monarch flew, 
The guest-gift in his hand he brought, 
And bowed before him and besought: 
"This day by seeing thee I gain 
Not to have lived my life in vain, 
Now be not wroth with me, I pray, 
"Because I wiled thy son away. 128 

128 A hemisloka is wanting in Schlegel's text, which he thus fills up in his Latin 

100 The Ramayana 

The best of Brahmans answer made: 
"Be not, great lord of kings, afraid. 
Thy virtues have not failed to win 
My favour, O thou pure of sin." 
Then in the front the saint was placed, 
The king came next in joyous haste, 
And with him entered his abode, 
Mid glad acclaim as on they rode. 
To greet the sage the reverent crowd 
Raised suppliant hands and humbly bowed. 
Then from the palace many a dame 
Following well-dressed Santa came, 
Stood by the mighty saint and cried: 
"See, honour's source, thy son's dear bride." 
The saint, who every virtue knew, 
His arms around his daughter threw, 
And with a father's rapture pressed 
The lady to his wondering breast. 
Arising from the saint's embrace 
She bowed her low before his face, 
And then, with palm to palm applied, 
Stood by her hermit father's side. 
He for his son, as laws ordain, 
Performed the rite that frees from stain, 129 
And, honoured by the wise and good, 
With him departed to the wood. 

Canto XIX. The Birth Of The Princes. 

129 Rishyasring, a Brahman, had married Santa who was of the Kshatriya or 
Warrior caste and an expiatory ceremony was necessary on account of this 
violation of the law. 

Canto XIX. The Birth Of The Princes. 101 

The seasons six in rapid flight 

Had circled since that glorious rite. 

Eleven months had passed away; 

'Twas Chaitra's ninth returning day. 130 

The moon within that mansion shone 

Which Aditi looks kindly on. 

Raised to their apex in the sky 

Five brilliant planets beamed on high. 

Shone with the moon, in Cancer's sign, 

Vrihaspati 131 with light divine. 

Kausalya bore an infant blest 

With heavenly marks of grace impressed; 

Rama, the universe's lord, 

A prince by all the worlds adored. 

New glory Queen Kausalya won 

Reflected from her splendid son. 

So Aditi shone more and more, 

The Mother of the Gods, when she 

The King of the Immortals 132 bore, 

The thunder-wielding deity. [032] 

no "jjjg p 0et no (jQubt intended to indicate the vernal equinox as the birthday 
of Rama. For the month Chaitra is the first of the two months assigned to the 
spring; it corresponds with the latter half of March and the former half of April 
in our division of the year. Aditi, the mother of the Gods, is lady of the seventh 
lunar mansion which is called Punarvasu. The five planets and their positions 
in the Zodiac are thus enumerated by both commentators: the Sun in Aries, 
Mars in Capricorn, Saturn in Libra, Jupiter in Cancer, Venus in Pisces.... I 
leave to astronomers to examine whether the parts of the description agree with 
one another, and, if this be the case, thence to deduce the date. The Indians 
place the nativity of Rama in the confines of the second age (treta) and the third 
(dwapara): but it seems that this should be taken in an allegorical sense.... We 
may consider that the poet had an eye to the time in which, immediately before 
his own age, the aspects of the heavenly bodies were such as he has described." 

131 The regent of the planet Jupiter. 

132 Indra = Jupiter Tonans. 

102 The Ramayana 

The lotus-eyed, the beauteous boy, 

He came fierce Ravan to destroy; 

From half of Vishnu's vigour born, 

He came to help the worlds forlorn. 

And Queen Kaikeyi bore a child 

Of truest valour, Bharat styled, 

With every princely virtue blest, 

One fourth of Vishnu manifest. 

Sumitra too a noble pair, 

Called Lakshman and Satrughna, bare, 

Of high emprise, devoted, true, 

Sharers in Vishnu's essence too. 

'Neath Pushya's 133 mansion, Mina's 134 sign, 

Was Bharat born, of soul benign. 

The sun had reached the Crab at morn 

When Queen Sumitra's babes were born, 

What time the moon had gone to make 

His nightly dwelling with the Snake. 

The high-souled monarch's consorts bore 

At different times those glorious four, 

Like to himself and virtuous, bright 

As Proshthapada's 135 four-fold light. 

Then danced the nymphs' celestial throng, 

The minstrels raised their strain; 
The drums of heaven pealed loud and long, 

And flowers came down in rain. 
Within Ayodhya, blithe and gay, 
All kept the joyous holiday. 

133 "Pushya is the name of a month; but here it means the eighth mansion. The 
ninth is called Asleshd, or the snake. It is evident from this that Bharat, though 
his birth is mentioned before that of the twins, was the youngest of the four 
brothers and Rama's junior by eleven months." SCHLEGEL{FNS. 

134 A fish, the Zodiacal sign Pisces. 

135 One of the constellations, containing stars in the wing of Pegasus. 

Canto XIX. The Birth Of The Princes. 103 

The spacious square, the ample road 
With mimes and dancers overflowed, 
And with the voice of music rang 
Where minstrels played and singers sang, 
And shone, a wonder to behold, 
With dazzling show of gems and gold. 
Nor did the king his largess spare, 
For minstrel, driver, bard, to share; 
Much wealth the Brahmans bore away, 
And many thousand dine that day. 

Soon as each babe was twelve days old 
'Twas time the naming rite to hold. 
When Saint Vasishtha, rapt with joy, 
Assigned a name to every boy. 
Rama, to him the high-souled heir, 
Bharat, to him Kaikeyi bare: 
Of Queen Sumitra one fair son 
Was Lakshman, and Satrughna one 
Rama, his sire's supreme delight, 
Like some proud banner cheered his sight, 
And to all creatures seemed to be 
The self-existent deity. 
All heroes, versed in holy lore, 
To all mankind great love they bore. 
Fair stores of wisdom all possessed, 
With princely graces all were blest. 
But mid those youths of high descent, 
With lordly light preeminent. 
Like the full moon unclouded, shone 
Rama, the world's dear paragon. 

136 Rama means the Delight (of the World); Bharat, the Supporter; Lakshman, 
the Auspicious; Satrughna, the Slayer of Foes. 

104 The Ramayana 

He best the elephant could guide. 137 
Urge the fleet car, the charger ride: 
A master he of bowman's skill, 
Joying to do his father's will. 
The world's delight and darling, he 
Loved Lakshman best from infancy 
And Lakshman, lord of lofty fate, 
Upon his elder joyed to wait, 
Striving his second self to please 
With friendship's sweet observances. 
His limbs the hero ne'er would rest 
Unless the couch his brother pressed; 
Except beloved Rama shared 
He could not taste the meal prepared. 
When Rama, pride of Reghu's race, 
Sprang on his steed to urge the chase, 
Behind him Lakshman loved to go 
And guard him with his trusty bow. 
As Rama was to Lakshman dear 
More than his life and ever near, 
So fond Satrughna prized above 
His very life his Bharat's love. 
Illustrious heroes, nobly kind 
In mutual love they all combined, 
And gave their royal sire delight 
With modest grace and warrior might: 
Supported by the glorious four 
Shone Dasaratha more and more, 
As though, with every guardian God 

137 Schlegel, in the Indische Bibliothek, remarks that the proficiency of the 
Indians in this art early attracted the attention of Alexander's successors, and 
natives of India were so long exclusively employed in this service that the 
name Indian was applied to any elephant-driver, to whatever country he might 

Canto XX. Visvamitra's Visit. 105 

Who keeps the land and skies, 
The Father of all creatures trod 
The earth before men's eyes. 

Canto XX. Visvamitra's Visit. 

Now Dasaratha's pious mind 

Meet wedlock for his sons designed; [033] 

With priests and friends the king began 

To counsel and prepare his plan. 

Such thoughts engaged his bosom, when, 

To see Ayodhya's lord of men, 

A mighty saint of glorious fame, 

The hermit Visvamitra 138 came. 

For evil fiends that roam by night 

Disturbed him in each holy rite, 

And in their strength and frantic rage 

Assailed with witcheries the sage. 

He came to seek the monarch's aid 

To guard the rites the demons stayed, 

Unable to a close to bring 

One unpolluted offering. 

Seeking the king in this dire strait 

He said to those who kept the gate: 

"Haste, warders, to your master run, 

And say that here stands Gadhi's son." 

138 The story of this famous saint is given at sufficient length in Cantos LI-LV. 
This saint has given his name to the district and city to the east of Benares. 
The original name, preserved in a land-grant on copper now in the Museum of 
the Benares College, has been Moslemized into Ghazeepore (the City of the 

106 The Ramayana 

Soon as they heard the holy man, 
To the king's chamber swift they ran 
With minds disordered all, and spurred 
To wildest zeal by what they heard. 
On to the royal hall they sped, 
There stood and lowly bowed the head, 
And made the lord of men aware 
That the great saint was waiting there. 

The king with priest and peer arose 
And ran the sage to meet, 

As Indra from his palace goes 
Lord Brahma's self to greet. 
When glowing with celestial light 
The pious hermit was in sight, 
The king, whose mien his transport showed, 
The honoured gift for guests bestowed. 
Nor did the saint that gift despise, 
Offered as holy texts advise; 
He kindly asked the earth's great king 
How all with him was prospering. 
The son of Kusik 1 39 bade him tell 
If all in town and field were well, 
All well with friends, and kith and kin, 
And royal treasure stored within: 

"Do all thy neighbours own thy sway? 
Thy foes confess thee yet? 

Dost thou continue still to pay 
To Gods and men each debt?" 
Then he, of hermits first and best, 
Vasishtha with a smile 140 addressed, 
And asked him of his welfare too, 
Showing him honour as was due. 

' The son of Kusik is Visvamitra. 

140 At the recollection of their former enmity, to be described hereafter. 

Canto XX. Visvamitra's Visit. 107 

Then with the sainted hermit all 

Went joyous to the monarch's hall, 

And sate them down by due degree, 

Each one, of rank and dignity. 

Joy filled the noble prince's breast 

Who thus bespoke the honoured guest: 

"As amrit 141 by a mortal found, 

As rain upon the thirsty ground, 

As to an heirless man a son 

Born to him of his precious one, 

As gain of what we sorely miss, 

As sudden dawn of mighty bliss, 

So is thy coming here to me: 

All welcome, mighty Saint, to thee. 

What wish within thy heart hast thou? 

If I can please thee, tell me how. 

Hail, Saint, from whom all honours flow, 

Worthy of all I can bestow. 

Blest is my birth with fruit to-day, 

Nor has my life been thrown away. 

I see the best of Brahman race 

And night to glorious morn gives place. 

Thou, holy Sage, in days of old 

Among the royal saints enrolled, 

Didst, penance-glorified, within 

The Brahman caste high station win. 

'Tis meet and right in many a way 

That I to thee should honour pay. 

This seems a marvel to mine eyes: 

All sin thy visit purifies; 

And I by seeing thee, O Sage, 

Have reaped the fruit of pilgrimage. 

108 The Ramayana 

Then say what thou wouldst have me do, 
That thou hast sought this interview. 
Favoured by thee, my wish is still, 
O Hermit, to perform thy will. 
Nor needest thou at length explain 
The object that thy heart would gain. 
Without reserve I grant it now: 
My deity, O Lord, art thou." 

The glorious hermit, far renowned, 
With highest fame and virtue crowned, 
Rejoiced these modest words to hear 
Delightful to the mind and ear. 

Canto XXI. Visvamitra's Speech. 

The hermit heard with high content 
That speech so wondrous eloquent, 
[034] And while each hair with joy arose, 142 

142 Great joy, according to the Hindu belief, has this effect, not causing each 
particular hair to stand on end, but gently raising all the down upon the body. 

Canto XXI. Visvamitra's Speech. 109 

He thus made answer at the close: 

"Good is thy speech O noble King, 

And like thyself in everything. 

So should their lips be wisdom-fraught 

Whom kings begot, Vasishtha taught. 

The favour which I came to seek 

Thou grantest ere my tongue can speak. 

But let my tale attention claim, 

And hear the need for which I came. 

O King, as Scripture texts allow, 

A holy rite employs me now. 

Two fiends who change their forms at will 

Impede that rite with cursed skill. 143 

Oft when the task is nigh complete, 

These worst of fiends my toil defeat, 

Throw bits of bleeding flesh, and o'er 

The altar shed a stream of gore. 

When thus the rite is mocked and stayed, 

And all my pious hopes delayed, 

Cast down in heart the spot I leave, 

And spent with fruitless labour grieve. 

Nor can I, checked by prudence, dare 

Let loose my fury on them there: 

The muttered curse, the threatening word, 

In such a rite must ne'er be heard. 

Thy grace the rite from check can free. 

And yield the fruit I long to see. 

Thy duty bids thee, King, defend 

The suffering guest, the suppliant friend. 

Give me thy son, thine eldest born, 

Whom locks like raven's wings adorn. 

143 The Rakshasas, giants, or fiends who are represented as disturbing the 
sacrifice, signify here, as often elsewhere, merely the savage tribes which 
placed themselves in hostile opposition to Brahmanical institutions. 

110 The Ramayana 

That hero youth, the truly brave, 

Of thee, O glorious King, I crave. 

For he can lay those demons low 

Who mar my rites and work me woe: 

My power shall shield the youth from harm, 

And heavenly might shall nerve his arm. 

And on my champion will I shower 

Unnumbered gifts of varied power, 

Such gifts as shall ensure his fame 

And spread through all the worlds his name. 

Be sure those fiends can never stand 

Before the might of Rama's hand, 

And mid the best and bravest none 

Can slay that pair but Raghu's son. 

Entangled in the toils of Fate 

Those sinners, proud and obstinate, 

Are, in their fury overbold, 

No match for Rama mighty-souled. 

Nor let a father's breast give way 

Too far to fond affection's sway. 

Count thou the fiends already slain: 

My word is pledged, nor pledged in vain. 

I know the hero Rama well 

In whom high thoughts and valour dwell; 

So does Vasishtha, so do these 

Engaged in long austerities. 

If thou would do the righteous deed, 

And win high fame, thy virtue's meed, 

Fame that on earth shall last and live, 

To me, great King, thy Rama give. 

If to the words that I have said, 

With Saint Vasishtha at their head 

Thy holy men, O King, agree, 

Then let thy Rama go with me. 

Canto XXII. Dasaratha's Speech. Ill 

Ten nights my sacrifice will last, 
And ere the stated time be past 
Those wicked fiends, those impious twain, 
Must fall by wondrous Rama slain. 
Let not the hours, I warn thee, fly, 
Fixt for the rite, unheeded by; 
Good luck have thou, O royal Chief, 
Nor give thy heart to needless grief." 

Thus in fair words with virtue fraught 
The pious glorious saint besought. 
But the good speech with poignant sting 
Pierced ear and bosom of the king, 
Who, stabbed with pangs too sharp to bear, 
Fell prostrate and lay fainting there. 

Canto XXII. Dasaratha's Speech. 

His tortured senses all astray, 

While the hapless monarch lay, 

Then slowly gathering thought and strength 

To Visvamitra spoke at length: 

"My son is but a child, I ween; 

This year he will be just sixteen. 

How is he fit for such emprise, 

My darling with the lotus eyes? 

A mighty army will I bring 

That calls me master, lord, and king, 

And with its countless squadrons fight 

Against these rovers of the night. 

My faithful heroes skilled to wield 

112 The Ramayana 

The arms of war will take the field; 
Their skill the demons' might may break: 
Rama, my child, thou must not take. 
I, even I, my bow in hand, 
Will in the van of battle stand, 
And, while my soul is left alive, 
With the night-roaming demons strive. 
Thy guarded sacrifice shall be 
Completed, from all hindrance free. 
Thither will I my journey make: 
Rama, my child, thou must not take. 
A boy unskilled, he knows not yet 
The bounds to strength and weakness set. 
No match is he for demon foes 
[035] Who magic arts to arms oppose. 

O chief of saints, I have no power, 
Of Rama reft, to live one hour: 
Mine aged heart at once would break: 
Rama, my child, thou must not take. 
Nine thousand circling years have fled 
With all their seasons o'er my head, 
And as a hard- won boon, O sage, 
These sons have come to cheer mine age. 
My dearest love amid the four 
Is he whom first his mother bore, 
Still dearer for his virtues' sake: 
Rama, my child, thou must not take. 
But if, unmoved by all I say, 
Thou needs must bear my son away, 
Let me lead with him, I entreat, 
A four-fold army 144 all complete. 
What is the demons' might, O Sage? 

144 Consisting of horse, foot, chariots, and elephants. 

Canto XXII. Dasaratha's Speech. 113 

Who are they? What their parentage? 

What is their size? What beings lend 

Their power to guard them and befriend? 

How can my son their arts withstand? 

Or I or all my armed band? 

Tell me the whole that I may know 

To meet in war each evil foe 

Whom conscious might inspires with pride." 

And Visvamitra thus replied: 
"Sprung from Pulastya's race there came 
A giant known by Ravan's name. 
Once favoured by the Eternal Sire 
He plagues the worlds in ceaseless ire, 
For peerless power and might renowned, 
By giant bands encompassed round. 
Visravas for his sire they hold, 
His brother is the Lord of Gold. 
King of the giant hosts is he, 
And worst of all in cruelty. 
This Ravan's dread commands impel 
Two demons who in might excel, 
Marietta and Suvahu hight, 
To trouble and impede the rite." 

Then thus the king addressed the sage: 
"No power have I, my lord, to wage 
War with this evil-minded foe; 
Now pity on my darling show, 
And upon me of hapless fate, 
For thee as God I venerate. 
Gods, spirits, bards of heavenly birth, 145 

145 "-pjjg Gandharvas, or heavenly bards, had originally a warlike character 
but were afterwards reduced to the office of celestial musicians cheering the 

114 The Ramayana 

The birds of air, the snakes of earth 
Before the might of Ravan quail, 
Much less can mortal man avail. 
He draws, I hear, from out the breast 
The valour of the mightiest. 
No, ne'er can I with him contend, 
Or with the forces he may send. 
How can I then my darling lend, 
Godlike, unskilled in battle? No, 
I will not let my young child go. 
Foes of thy rite, those mighty ones, 
Sunda and Upasunda's sons, 
Are fierce as Fate to overthrow: 
I will not let my young child go. 
Marietta and Suvahu fell 
Are valiant and instructed well. 
One of the twain I might attack. 
With all my friends their lord to back." 

Canto XXIII. Vasishtha's Speech. 

banquets of the Gods. Dr. Kuhn has shown their identity with the Centaurs in 
name, origin and attributes." GORRESIO{FNS. 

Canto XXIII. Vasishtha's Speech. 1 15 

While thus the hapless monarch spoke, 
Paternal love his utterance broke. 
Then words like these the saint returned, 
And fury in his bosom burned: 
"Didst thou, O King, a promise make, 
And wishest now thy word to break? 
A son of Raghu's line should scorn 
To fail in faith, a man forsworn. 
But if thy soul can bear the shame 
I will return e'en as I came. 
Live with thy sons, and joy be thine, 
False scion of Kakutstha's line." 

As Visvamitra, mighty sage, 
Was moved with this tempestuous rage, 
Earth rocked and reeled throughout her frame, 
And fear upon the Immortals came. 
But Saint Vasishtha, wisest seer, 
Observant of his vows austere, 
Saw the whole world convulsed with dread, 
And thus unto the monarch said: 
"Thou, born of old Ikshvaku's seed, 
Art Justice' self in mortal weed. 
Constant and pious, blest by fate, 
The right thou must not violate. 
Thou, Raghu's son, so famous through 
The triple world as just and true, 
Perform thy bounden duty still, 
Nor stain thy race by deed of ill. 
If thou have sworn and now refuse 
Thou must thy store of merit lose. 
Then, Monarch, let thy Rama go, 
Nor fear for him the demon foe. 
The fiends shall have no power to hurt 

116 The Ramayana 

Him trained to war or inexpert, 
Nor vanquish him in battle field, 
For Kusik's son the youth will shield. 
He is incarnate Justice, he 
The best of men for bravery. 
Embodied love of penance drear, 
[036] Among the wise without a peer. 

Full well he knows, great Kusik's son, 

The arms celestial, every one, 

Arms from the Gods themselves concealed, 

Far less to other men revealed. 

These arms to him, when earth he swayed, 

Mighty Krisasva, pleased, conveyed. 

Krisasva's sons they are indeed, 

Brought forth by Daksha's lovely seed, 146 

Heralds of conquest, strong and bold, 

Brilliant, of semblance manifold. 

Jaya and Vijaya, most fair, 

And hundred splendid weapons bare. 

Of Jaya, glorious as the morn, 

First fifty noble sons were born, 

Boundless in size yet viewless too, 

They came the demons to subdue. 

And fifty children also came 

Of Vijaya the beauteous dame, 

Sanharas named, of mighty force, 

Hard to assail or check in course. 

Of these the hermit knows the use, 

And weapons new can he produce. 

All these the mighty saint will yield 

To Rama's hand, to own and wield; 

146 These mysterious animated weapons are enumerated in Cantos XXIX and 
XXX. Daksha was the son of Brahma and one of the Prajapatis, Demiurgi, or 
secondary authors of creation. 

Canto XXIV. The Spells. 1 17 

And armed with these, beyond a doubt 
Shall Rama put those fiends to rout. 
For Rama and the people's sake, 
For thine own good my counsel take, 
Nor seek, O King, with fond delay, 
The parting of thy son to stay." 

Canto XXIV. The Spells. 

Vasishtha thus was speaking still: 
The monarch, of his own free will, 
Bade with quick zeal and joyful cheer 
Rama and Lakshman hasten near. 
Mother and sire in loving care 
Sped their dear son with rite and prayer: 
Vasishtha blessed him ere he went; 
O'er his loved head the father bent, 
And then to Kusik's son resigned 
Rama with Lakshman close behind. 
Standing by Visvamitra's side, 
The youthful hero, lotus-eyed, 
The Wind-God saw, and sent a breeze 
Whose sweet pure touch just waved the trees. 
There fell from heaven a flowery rain, 
And with the song and dance the strain 
Of shell and tambour sweetly blent 
As forth the son of Raghu went. 
The hermit led: behind him came 
The bow-armed Rama, dear to fame, 

118 The Ramayana 

Whose locks were like the raven's wing: 147 
Then Lakshman, closely following. 
The Gods and Indra, filled with joy, 
Looked down upon the royal boy, 
And much they longed the death to see 
Of their ten-headed enemy. 148 
Rama and Lakshman paced behind 
That hermit of the lofty mind, 
As the young Asvins, 149 heavenly pair, 
Follow Lord Indra through the air. 
On arm and hand the guard they wore, 
Quiver and bow and sword they bore; 
Two fire-born Gods of War seemed they. 150 
He, Siva's self who led the way. 

Upon fair Sarju's southern shore 
They now had walked a league and more, 
When thus the sage in accents mild 
To Rama said: "Beloved child, 
This lustral water duly touch: 
My counsel will avail thee much. 
Forget not all the words I say, 

147 Youths of the Kshatriya class used to leave unshorn the side locks of their 
hair. These were called Kdka-paksha, or raven's wings. 

148 The Rakshas or giant Ravan, king of Lanka. 

149 "jjjg mean i n g of Asvins (from asva a horse, Persian asp, Greek i'lutoc,, Latin 
equus, Welsh ech) is Horsemen. They were twin deities of whom frequent 
mention is made in the Vedas and the Indian myths. The Asvins have much 
in common with the Dioscuri of Greece, and their mythical genealogy seems 
to indicate that their origin was astronomical. They were, perhaps, at first the 
morning star and evening star. They are said to be the children of the sun and 
the nymph Asvini, who is one of the lunar asterisms personified. In the popular 
mythology they are regarded as the physicians of the Gods." GORRESIO{FNS. 

150 The word Kumara (a young prince, a Childe) is also a proper name of 
Skanda or Kartikeya God of War, the son of Siva and Uma. The babe was 
matured in the fire. 

Canto XXIV. The Spells. 119 

Nor let the occasion slip away. 

Lo, with two spells I thee invest, 

The mighty and the mightiest. 

O'er thee fatigue shall ne'er prevail, 

Nor age or change thy limbs assail. 

Thee powers of darkness ne'er shall smite 

In tranquil sleep or wild delight. 

No one is there in all the land 

Thine equal for the vigorous hand. [037] 

Thou, when thy lips pronounce the spell, 

Shalt have no peer in heaven or hell. 

None in the world with thee shall vie, 

O sinless one, in apt reply, 

In fortune, knowledge, wit, and tact, 

Wisdom to plan and skill to act. 

This double science take, and gain 

Glory that shall for aye remain. 

Wisdom and judgment spring from each 

Of these fair spells whose use I teach. 

Hunger and thirst unknown to thee, 

High in the worlds thy rank shall be. 

For these two spells with might endued, 

Are the Great Father's heavenly brood, 

And thee, O Chief, may fitly grace, 

Thou glory of Kakutstha's race. 

Virtues which none can match are thine, 

Lord, from thy birth, of gifts divine, 

And now these spells of might shall cast 

Fresh radiance o'er the gifts thou hast." 

Then Rama duly touched the wave, 

Raised suppliant hands, bowed low his head, 
And took the spells the hermit gave, 

Whose soul on contemplation fed. 
From him whose might these gifts enhanced, 

120 The Ramayana 

A brighter beam of glory glanced: 

So shines in all his autumn blaze 

The Day-God of the thousand rays. 

The hermit's wants those youths supplied, 

As pupils use to holy guide. 

And then the night in sweet content 

On Sarju's pleasant bank they spent. 

Canto XXV. The Hermitage Of Love. 

Soon as appeared the morning light 
Up rose the mighty anchorite, 
And thus to youthful Rama said, 
Who lay upon his leafy bed: 
"High fate is hers who calls thee son: 

Arise, 'tis break of day; 
Rise, Chief, and let those rites be done 
Due at the morning's ray." 151 
At that great sage's high behest 

Up sprang the princely pair, 
To bathing rites themselves addressed, 

And breathed the holiest prayer. 
Their morning task completed, they 

To Visvamitra came 
That store of holy works, to pay 

The worship saints may claim. 
Then to the hallowed spot they went 

"At the rising of the sun as well as at noon certain observances, invocations, 
and prayers were prescribed which might under no circumstances be omitted. 
One of these observances was the recitation of the Savitri, a Vedic hymn to the 
Sun of wonderful beauty." GORRESIOJFNS. 

Canto XXV. The Hermitage Of Love. 121 

Along fair Sarjii's side 
Where mix her waters confluent 

With three-pathed Ganga's tide. 152 
There was a sacred hermitage 

Where saints devout of mind 
Their lives through many a lengthened age 

To penance had resigned. 
That pure abode the princes eyed 

With unrestrained delight, 
And thus unto the saint they cried, 

Rejoicing at the sight: 
"Whose is that hermitage we see? 

Who makes his dwelling there? 
Full of desire to hear are we: 

O Saint, the truth declare." 
The hermit smiling made reply 

To the two boys' request: 
"Hear, Rama, who in days gone by 

This calm retreat possessed. 
Kandarpa in apparent form, 

Called Kama 153 by the wise, 
Dared Uma's 154 new-wed lord to storm 

And make the God his prize. 
'Gainst Sthanu's 155 self, on rites austere 

152 Tripathaga, Three-path- go, flowing in heaven, on earth, and under the 
earth. See Canto XLV. 

153 Tennyson's "Indian Cama," the God of Love, known also by many other 

154 Umd, or Parvati, was daughter of Himalaya, Monarch of mountains, and 
wife of Siva. See Kalidasa's Kumdra Sambhava, or Birth of the War-God. 

155 Sthdnu. The Unmoving one, a name of Siva. 

122 The Ramayana 

And vows intent, 156 they say, 

His bold rash hand he dared to rear, 

Though Sthanu cried, Away! 
But the God's eye with scornful glare 

Fell terrible on him. 
[038] Dissolved the shape that was so fair 

And burnt up every limb. 
Since the great God's terrific rage 

Destroyed his form and frame, 
Kama in each succeeding age 

Has borne Ananga's 157 name. 
So, where his lovely form decayed, 

This land is Anga styled: 
Sacred to him of old this shade, 

And hermits undefiled. 
Here Scripture-talking elders sway 

Each sense with firm control, 
And penance-rites have washed away 

All sin from every soul. 
One night, fair boy, we here will spend, 

A pure stream on each hand, 
And with to-morrow's light will bend 

Our steps to yonder strand. 
Here let us bathe, and free from stain 

To that pure grove repair, 

156 "jjj e p rac tice of austerities, voluntary tortures, and mortifications was 
anciently universal in India, and was held by the Indians to be of immense 
efficacy. Hence they mortified themselves to expiate sins, to acquire merits, 
and to obtain superhuman gifts and powers; the Gods themselves sometimes 
exercised themselves in such austerities, either to raise themselves to greater 
power and grandeur, or to counteract the austerities of man which threatened 
to prevail over them and to deprive them of heaven.... Such austerities were 
called in India tapas (burning ardour, fervent devotion) and he who practised 
them tapasvin." GORRESIOJFNS. 

Canto XXVI. The Forest Of Tadaka. 123 

Sacred to Kama, and remain 

One night in comfort there." 
With penance' far-discerning eye 

The saintly men beheld 
Their coming, and with transport high 

Each holy bosom swelled. 
To Kusik's son the gift they gave 

That honoured guest should greet, 
Water they brought his feet to lave, 

And showed him honor meet. 
Rama and Lakshman next obtained 

In due degree their share. 
Then with sweet talk the guests remained, 

And charmed each listener there. 
The evening prayers were duly said 

With voices calm and low: 
Then on the ground each laid his head 

And slept till morning's glow. 

Canto XXVI. The Forest Of Tadaka. 

When the fair light of morning rose 
The princely tamers of their foes 
Followed, his morning worship o'er, 
The hermit to the river's shore. 
The high-souled men with thoughtful care 
A pretty barge had stationed there. 
All cried, "O lord, this barge ascend, 
And with thy princely followers bend 
To yonder side thy prosperous way 
With naught to check thee or delay." 

124 The Ramayana 

Nor did the saint their rede reject: 
He bade farewell with due respect, 
And crossed, attended by the twain, 
That river rushing to the main. 
When now the bark was half way o'er, 
Rama and Lakshman heard the roar, 
That louder grew and louder yet, 
Of waves by dashing waters met. 
Then Rama asked the mighty seer: 
"What is the tumult that I hear 
Of waters cleft in mid career?" 
Soon as the speech of Rama, stirred 
By deep desire to know, he heard, 
The pious saint began to tell 
What paused the waters' roar and swell: 
"On high Kailasa's distant hill 

There lies a noble lake 
Whose waters, born from Brahma's will, 
The name of Manas 158 take. 
Thence, hallowing where'er they flow, 

The streams of Sarjii fall, 
And wandering through the plains below 

Embrace Ayodhya's wall. 
Still, still preserved in Sarjii's name 

Sarovar's 159 fame we trace. 
The flood of Brahma whence she came 

158 "A celebrated lake regarded in India as sacred. It lies in the lofty region 
between the northern highlands of the Himalayas and mount Kailasa, the region 
of the sacred lakes. The poem, following the popular Indian belief, makes 
the river Sarayii (now Sarjii) flow from the Manasa lake; the sources of the 
river are a little to the south about a day's journey from the lake. See Lassen, 
Indische Alterthumshunde , page 34." GORRESIO{FNS. Manas means mind; 
manasa, mental, mind-born. 

159 Sarovar means best of lakes. This is another of the poet's fanciful etymolo- 

Canto XXVI. The Forest Of Tadaka. 125 

To run her holy race. 
To meet great Ganga here she hies 

With tributary wave: 
Hence the loud roar ye hear arise, 

Of floods that swell and rave. 
Here, pride of Raghu's line, do thou 
In humble adoration bow." 

He spoke. The princes both obeyed, 
And reverence to each river paid. 160 
They reached the southern shore at last, 
And gaily on their journey passed. 
A little space beyond there stood 
A gloomy awe-inspiring wood. 
The monarch's noble son began 
To question thus the holy man: 
"Whose gloomy forest meets mine eye 
Like some vast cloud that fills the sky? 
Pathless and dark it seems to be, 
Where birds in thousands wander free; 

Where shrill cicadas' cries resound, [039] 

And fowl of dismal note abound. 
Lion, rhinoceros, and bear, 
Boar, tiger, elephant, are there, 

There shrubs and thorns run wild: 
Dhao, Sal, Bignonia, Bel, are found, 
And every tree that grows on ground. 

How is the forest styled?" 

160 The confluence of two or more rivers is often a venerated and holy place. The 
most famous is Prayag or Allahabad, where the Sarasvati by an underground 
course is believed to join the Jumna and the Ganges. 

161 The botanical names of the trees mentioned in the text are Grislea Tormen- 
tosa, Shorea Robusta, Echites Antidysenterica, Bignonia Suaveolens, CEgle 
Marmelos, and Diospyrus Glutinosa. I have omitted the Kutaja (Echites) and 
the Tinduka (Diospyrus). 

126 The Ramayana 

The glorious saint this answer made: 

"Dear child of Raghu, hear 

Who dwells within the horrid shade 

That looks so dark and drear. 
Where now is wood, long ere this day 

Two broad and fertile lands, 
Malaja and Karusha lay, 

Adorned by heavenly hands. 
Here, mourning friendship's broken ties, 
Lord Indra of the thousand eyes 
Hungered and sorrowed many a day, 
His brightness soiled with mud and clay, 
When in a storm of passion he 
Had slain his dear friend Namuchi. 
Then came the Gods and saints who bore 
Their golden pitchers brimming o'er 
With holy streams that banish stain, 
And bathed Lord Indra pure again. 
When in this land the God was freed 
From spot and stain of impious deed 
For that his own dear friend he slew, 
High transport thrilled his bosom through. 
Then in his joy the lands he blessed, 
And gave a boon they long possessed: 
"Because these fertile lands retain 
The washings of the blot and stain," 

'Twas thus Lord Indra sware, 
"Malaja and Karusha's name 
Shall celebrate with deathless fame 

My malady and care." 162 

162 Here we meet with a fresh myth to account for the name of these regions. 
Malaja is probably a non- Aryan word signifying a hilly country: taken as 
a Sanskrit compound it means sprung from defilement. The word Karusha 
appears to have a somewhat similar meaning. 

Canto XXVI. The Forest Of Tadaka. 127 

"So be it," all the Immortals cried, 

When Indra's speech they heard, 
And with acclaim they ratified 

The names his lips conferred. 
Long time, O victor of thy foes, 
These happy lands had sweet repose, 
And higher still in fortune rose. 
At length a spirit, loving ill, 
Tadaka, wearing shapes at will, 
Whose mighty strength, exceeding vast, 
A thousand elephants, surpassed, 
Was to fierce Sunda, lord and head 
Of all the demon armies, wed. 
From her, Lord Indra's peer in might 
Giant Maricha sprang to light: 
And she, a constant plague and pest, 
These two fair realms has long distressed. 
Now dwelling in her dark abode 
A league away she bars the road: 
And we, O Rama, hence must go 
Where lies the forest of the foe. 
Now on thine own right arm rely, 

And my command obey: 
Smite the foul monster that she die, 

And take the plague away. 
To reach this country none may dare 

Fallen from its old estate, 
Which she, whose fury naught can bear, 

Has left so desolate. 
And now my truthful tale is told 

How with accursed sway 
The spirit plagued this wood of old, 

And ceases not to-day." 

128 The Ramayana 

Canto XXVII. The Birth Of Tadaka. 

When thus the sage without a peer 
Had closed that story strange to hear, 
Rama again the saint addressed 
To set one lingering doubt at rest: 
"O holy man, 'tis said by all 
That spirits' strength is weak and small: 
How can she match, of power so slight, 
A thousand elephants in might?" 
And Visvamitra thus replied 
To Raghu's son the glorified: 
"Listen, and I will tell thee how 
She gained the strength that arms her now. 
A mighty spirit lived of yore; 
Suketu was the name he bore. 
Childless was he, and free from crime 
In rites austere he passed his time. 
The mighty Sire was pleased to show 
His favour, and a child bestow. 
Tadaka named, most fair to see, 
A pearl among the maids was she, 
And matched, for such was Brahma's dower, 
A thousand elephants in power. 
Nor would the Eternal Sire, although 
The spirit longed, a son bestow 
That maid in beauty's youthful pride 
Was given to Sunda for a bride. 
Her son, Maricha was his name, 
A giant, through a curse, became. 
[040] She, widowed, dared with him molest 

Canto XXVII. The Birth Of Tadaka. 129 

Agastya, 163 of all saints the best. 
Inflamed with hunger's wildest rage, 
Roaring she rushed upon the sage. 
When the great hermit saw her near, 
On speeding in her fierce career, 
He thus pronounced Maricha's doom: 
"A giant's form and shape assume." 
And then, by mighty anger swayed, 
On Tadaka this curse he laid: 
"Thy present form and semblance quit, 
And wear a shape thy mood to fit; 
Changed form and feature by my ban, 
A fearful thing that feeds on man." 

She, by his awful curse possessed, 
And mad with rage that fills her breast, 
Has on this land her fury dealt 
Where once the saint Agastya dwelt. 
Go, Rama, smite this monster dead, 
The wicked plague, of power so dread, 
And further by this deed of thine 
The good of Brahmans and of kine. 
Thy hand alone can overthrow, 
In all the worlds, this impious foe. 
Nor let compassion lead thy mind 
To shrink from blood of womankind; 
A monarch's son must ever count 
The people's welfare paramount, 
And whether pain or joy he deal 

163 "-pjjjg j s one f mose indefinable mythic personages who are found in the 
ancient traditions of many nations, and in whom cosmogonical or astronomical 
notions are generally figured. Thus it is related of Agastya that the Vindhyan 
mountains prostrated themselves before him; and yet the same Agastya is 
believed to be regent of the star Canopus." GORRESIO{FNS. 

He will appear as the friend and helper of Rama farther on in the poem. 

130 The Ramayana 

Dare all things for his subjects' weal; 
Yea, if the deed bring praise or guilt, 
If life be saved or blood be spilt: 
Such, through all time, should be the care 
Of those a kingdom's weight who bear. 
Slay, Rama, slay this impious fiend, 
For by no law her life is screened. 
So Manthara, as bards have told, 
Virochan's child, was slain of old 
By Indra, when in furious hate 
She longed the earth to devastate. 
So Kavya's mother, Bhrigu's wife, 
Who loved her husband as her life, 
When Indra's throne she sought to gain, 
By Vishnu's hand of yore was slain. 
By these and high-souled kings beside, 
Struck down, have lawless women died." 

Canto XXVIII. The Death Of Tadaka. 

Thus spoke the saint. Each vigorous word 

The noble monarch's offspring heard, 

And, reverent hands together laid, 

His answer to the hermit made: 

"My sire and mother bade me aye 

Thy word, O mighty Saint, obey 

So will I, O most glorious, kill 

This Tadaka who joys in ill, 

For such my sire's, and such thy will. 

To aid with mine avenging hand 

The Brahmans, kine, and all the land, 

Canto XXVIII. The Death Of Tadaka. 1 3 1 

Obedient, heart and soul, I stand." 

Thus spoke the tamer of the foe, 
And by the middle grasped his bow. 
Strongly he drew the sounding string 
That made the distant welkin ring. 
Scared by the mighty clang the deer 
That roamed the forest shook with fear, 
And Tadaka the echo heard, 
And rose in haste from slumber stirred. 
In wild amaze, her soul aflame 
With fury toward the spot she came. 
When that foul shape of evil mien 
And stature vast as e'er was seen 
The wrathful son of Raghu eyed, 
He thus unto his brother cried: 
"Her dreadful shape, O Lakshman, see, 
A form to shudder at and flee. 
The hideous monster's very view 
Would cleave a timid heart in two. 
Behold the demon hard to smite, 
Defended by her magic might. 
My hand shall stay her course to-day, 
And shear her nose and ears away. 
No heart have I her life to take: 
I spare it for her sex's sake. 
My will is but, with minished force, 
To check her in her evil course." 
While thus he spoke, by rage impelled 

Roaring as she came nigh, 
The fiend her course at Rama held 

With huge arms tossed on high. 
Her, rushing on, the seer assailed 

With a loud cry of hate; 

132 The Ramayana 

And thus the sons of Raghu hailed: 

"Fight, and be fortunate." 
Then from the earth a horrid cloud 

Of dust the demon raised, 
And for awhile in darkling shroud 

Wrapt Raghu's sons amazed. 
Then calling on her magic power 

The fearful fight to wage, 
She smote him with a stony shower, 

Till Rama burned with rage. 
Then pouring forth his arrowy rain 
[041] That stony flood to stay, 

With winged darts, as she charged amain, 

He shore her hands away. 
As Tadaka still thundered near 

Thus maimed by Rama's blows, 
Lakshman in fury severed sheer 

The monster's ears and nose. 
Assuming by her magic skill 

A fresh and fresh disguise, 
She tried a thousand shapes at will, 

Then vanished from their eyes. 
When Gadhi's son of high renown 
Still saw the stony rain pour down 
Upon each princely warrior's head, 
With words of wisdom thus he said: 
"Enough of mercy, Rama, lest 
This sinful evil-working pest, 
Disturber of each holy rite, 
Repair by magic arts her might. 
Without delay the fiend should die, 
For, see, the twilight hour is nigh. 
And at the joints of night and day 
Such giant foes are hard to slay." 

Canto XXVIII. The Death Of Tadaka. 133 

Then Rama, skilful to direct 

His arrow to the sound, 
With shafts the mighty demon checked 

Who rained her stones around. 
She sore impeded and beset 
By Rama and his arrowy net, 
Though skilled in guile and magic lore, 
Rushed on the brothers with a roar. 
Deformed, terrific, murderous, dread, 
Swift as the levin on she sped, 
Like cloudy pile in autumn's sky, 
Lifting her two vast arms on high, 
When Rama smote her with a dart, 
Shaped like a crescent, to the heart. 
Sore wounded by the shaft that came 
With lightning speed and surest aim, 
Blood spouting from her mouth and side, 
She fell upon the earth and died. 
Soon as the Lord who rules the sky 
Saw the dread monster lifeless lie, 
He called aloud, Well done! well done! 
And the Gods honoured Raghu's son. 
Standing in heaven the Thousand-eyed, 
With all the Immortals, joying cried: 
"Lift up thine eyes, O Saint, and see 
The Gods and Indra nigh to thee. 
This deed of Rama's boundless might 
Has filled our bosoms with delight, 
Now, for our will would have it so, 
To Raghu's son some favour show. 
Invest him with the power which naught 
But penance gains and holy thought, 
Those heavenly arms on him bestow 
To thee entrusted long ago 

134 The Ramayana 

By great Krisasva best of kings, 
Son of the Lord of living things. 
More fit recipient none can be 
Than he who joys it following thee; 
And for our sakes the monarch's seed 
Has yet to do a mighty deed." 

He spoke; and all the heavenly train 
Rejoicing sought their homes again, 
While honour to the saint they paid. 
Then came the evening's twilight shade, 
The best of hermits overjoyed 
To know the monstrous fiend destroyed, 
His lips on Rama's forehead pressed, 
And thus the conquering chief addressed: 
"O Rama gracious to the sight. 
Here will we pass the present night, 
And with the morrow's earliest ray 
Bend to my hermitage our way." 
The son of Dasaratha heard, 
Delighted, Visvamitra's word, 
And as he bade, that night he spent 
In Tadaka's wild wood, content. 
And the grove shone that happy day, 
Freed from the curse that on it lay, 
Like Chaitraratha 164 fair and gay. 

Canto XXIX. The Celestial Arms. 

164 The famous pleasure-garden of Kuvera the God of Wealth. 

Canto XXIX. The Celestial Arms. 135 

That night they slept and took their rest; 

And then the mighty saint addressed, 

With pleasant smile and accents mild 

These words to Raghu's princely child: 

"Well pleased am I. High fate be thine, 

Thou scion of a royal line. 

Now will I, for I love thee so, 

All heavenly arms on thee bestow. 

Victor with these, whoe'er oppose, 

Thy hand shall conquer all thy foes, 

Though Gods and spirits of the air, 

Serpents and fiends, the conflict dare. 

I'll give thee as a pledge of love 

The mystic arms they use above, 

For worthy thou to have revealed 

The weapons I have learnt to wield. 165 [042] 

First, son of Raghu, shall be thine 

The arm of Vengeance, strong, divine: 

The arm of Fate, the arm of Right, 

And Vishnu's arm of awful might: 

That, before which no foe can stand, 

The thunderbolt of Indra's hand; 

And Siva's trident, sharp and dread, 

And that dire weapon Brahma's Head. 

And two fair clubs, O royal child, 

One Charmer and one Pointed styled 

With flame of lambent fire aglow, 

165 "-pjjg w h i e of this Canto together with the following one, regards the belief, 
formerly prevalent in India, that by virtue of certain spells, to be learnt and 
muttered, secret knowledge and superhuman powers might be acquired. To 
this the poet has already alluded in Canto xxiii. These incorporeal weapons are 
partly represented according to the fashion of those ascribed to the Gods and 
the different orders of demi-gods, partly are the mere creations of fancy; and it 
would not be easy to say what idea the poet had of them in his own mind, or 
what powers he meant to assign to each." SCHLEGEL{FNS. 

136 The Ramayana 

On thee, O Chieftain, I bestow. 
And Fate's dread net and Justice' noose 
That none may conquer, for thy use: 
And the great cord, renowned of old, 
Which Varun ever loves to hold. 
Take these two thunderbolts, which I 
Have got for thee, the Moist and Dry. 
Here Siva's dart to thee I yield, 
And that which Vishnu wont to wield. 
I give to thee the arm of Fire, 
Desired by all and named the Spire. 
To thee I grant the Wind-God's dart, 
Named Crusher, O thou pure of heart, 
This arm, the Horse's Head, accept, 
And this, the Curlew's Bill yclept, 
And these two spears, the best e'er flew, 
Named the Invincible and True. 
And arms of fiends I make thine own, 
Skull-wreath and mace that smashes bone. 
And Joyous, which the spirits bear, 
Great weapon of the sons of air. 
Brave offspring of the best of lords, 
I give thee now the Gem of swords, 
And offer next, thine hand to arm, 
The heavenly bards' beloved charm. 
Now with two arms I thee invest 
Of never-ending Sleep and Rest, 
With weapons of the Sun and Rain, 
And those that dry and burn amain; 
And strong Desire with conquering touch, 
The dart that Kama prizes much. 
I give the arm of shadowy powers 
That bleeding flesh of men devours. 
I give the arms the God of Gold 

Canto XXIX. The Celestial Arms. 137 

And giant fiends exult to hold. 
This smites the foe in battle-strife, 
And takes his fortune, strength, and life. 
I give the arms called False and True, 
And great Illusion give I too; 
The hero's arm called Strong and Bright 
That spoils the foeman's strength in fight. 
I give thee as a priceless boon 
The Dew, the weapon of the Moon, 
And add the weapon, deftly planned, 
That strengthens Visvakarma's hand. 
The Mortal dart whose point is chill, 
And Slaughter, ever sure to kill; 
All these and other arms, for thou 
Art very dear, I give thee now. 
Receive these weapons from my hand, 
Son of the noblest in the land." 

Facing the east, the glorious saint 
Pure from all spot of earthly taint, 
To Rama, with delighted mind, 
That noble host of spells consigned. 
He taught the arms, whose lore is won 
Hardly by Gods, to Raghu's son. 
He muttered low the spell whose call 
Summons those arms and rules them all 
And, each in visible form and frame, 
Before the monarch's son they came. 
They stood and spoke in reverent guise 
To Rama with exulting cries: 
"O noblest child of Raghu, see, 
Thy ministers and thralls are we." 

With joyful heart and eager hand 
Rama received the wondrous band, 

138 The Ramayana 

And thus with words of welcome cried: 
"Aye present to my will abide." 
Then hasted to the saint to pay 
Due reverence, and pursued his way. 

Canto XXX. The Mysterious Powers. 166 

Pure, with glad cheer and joyful breast, 
Of those mysterious arms possessed, 
Rama, now passing on his way, 
Thus to the saint began to say: 
"Lord of these mighty weapons, I 
Can scarce be harmed by Gods on high; 
Now, best of saints, I long to gain 
The powers that can these arms restrain." 
Thus spoke the prince. The sage austere, 
True to his vows, from evil clear, 
Called forth the names of those great charms 
Whose powers restrain the deadly arms. 
"Receive thou True and Truly famed, 
[043] And Bold and Fleet: the weapons named 

"In Sanskrit Sankdra, a word which has various significations but the 
primary meaning of which is the act of seizing. A magical power seems 
to be implied of employing the weapons when and where required. The 
remarks I have made on the preceding Canto apply with still greater force 
to this. The MSS. greatly vary in the enumeration of these Sankdras, and 
it is not surprising that copyists have incorrectly written the names which 
they did not well understand. The commentators throw no light upon the 
subject." SCHLEGEL{FNS. I have taken the liberty of omitting four of these 
which Schlegel translates "Scleromphalum, Euomphalum, Centiventrem, and 

Canto XXX. The Mysterious Powers. 139 

Warder and Progress, swift of pace, 

Averted-head and Drooping-face; 

The Seen, and that which Secret flies; 

The weapon of the thousand eyes; 

Ten-headed, and the Hundred-faced, 

Star-gazer and the Layer-waste: 

The Omen-bird, the Pure-from-spot, 

The pair that wake and slumber not: 

The Fiendish, that which shakes amain, 

The Strong-of-Hand, the Rich-in-Gain: 

The Guardian, and the Close-allied, 

The Gaper, Love, and Golden-side: 

O Raghu's son receive all these, 

Bright ones that wear what forms they please; 

Krisasva's mystic sons are they, 

And worthy thou their might to sway." 

With joy the pride of Raghu's race 

Received the hermit's proffered grace, 

Mysterious arms, to check and stay, 

Or smite the foeman in the fray. 

Then, all with heavenly forms endued, 

Nigh came the wondrous multitude. 

Celestial in their bright attire 

Some shone like coals of burning fire; 

Some were like clouds of dusky smoke; 

And suppliant thus they sweetly spoke: 

"Thy thralls, O Rama, here we stand: 

Command, we pray, thy faithful band" 

"Depart," he cried, "where each may list, 

But when I call you to assist, 

Be present to my mind with speed, 

And aid me in the hour of need." 

140 The Ramayana 

To Rama then they lowly bent, 
And round him in due reverence went, 
To his command, they answered, Yea, 
And as they came so went away. 
When thus the arms had homeward flown, 
With pleasant words and modest tone, 
E'en as he walked, the prince began 
To question thus the holy man: 
"What cloudlike wood is that which near 
The mountain's side I see appear? 
O tell me, for I long to know; 
Its pleasant aspect charms me so. 
Its glades are full of deer at play, 
And sweet birds sing on every spray, 
Past is the hideous wild; I feel 
So sweet a tremor o'er me steal, 
And hail with transport fresh and new 
A land that is so fair to view. 
Then tell me all, thou holy Sage, 
And whose this pleasant hermitage 
In which those wicked ones delight 
To mar and kill each holy rite. 
And with foul heart and evil deed 
Thy sacrifice, great Saint, impede. 
To whom, O Sage, belongs this land 
In which thine altars ready stand! 
'Tis mine to guard them, and to slay 
The giants who the rites would stay. 
All this, O best of saints, I burn 
From thine own lips, my lord, to learn." 

Canto XXXI. The Perfect Hermitage. 

Canto XXXI. The Perfect Hermitage. 141 

Thus spoke the prince of boundless might, 

And thus replied the anchorite: 

"Chief of the mighty arm, of yore 

Lord Vishnu whom the Gods adore, 

For holy thought and rites austere 

Of penance made his dwelling here. 

This ancient wood was called of old 

Grove of the Dwarf, the mighty-souled, 

And when perfection he attained 

The grove the name of Perfect gained. 

Bali of yore, Virochan's son, 

Dominion over Indra won, 

And when with power his proud heart swelled, 

O'er the three worlds his empire held. 

When Bali then began a rite, 

The Gods and Indra in affright 

Sought Vishnu in this place of rest, 

And thus with prayers the God addressed: 

"Bali. Virochan's mighty son, 

His sacrifice has now begun: 

Of boundless wealth, that demon king 

Is bounteous to each living thing. 

Though suppliants flock from every side 

The suit of none is e'er denied. 

Whate'er, where'er howe'er the call, 

He hears the suit and gives to all. 

Now with thine own illusive art 

Perform, O Lord, the helper's part: 

Assume a dwarfish form, and thus 

From fear and danger rescue us." 167 

167 I omit, after this line, eight slokes which, as Schlegel allows, are quite out 
of place. 

142 The Ramayana 

Thus in their dread the Immortals sued: 
The God a dwarflike shape indued: 168 
Before Virochan's son he came, 
Three steps of land his only claim. 
The boon obtained, in wondrous wise 
Lord Vishnu's form increased in size; 
Through all the worlds, tremendous, vast, 
God of the Triple Step, he passed. 169 
The whole broad earth from side to side 
He measured with one mighty stride, 
Spanned with the next the firmament, 
[044] And with the third through heaven he went. 

Thus was the king of demons hurled 
By Vishnu to the nether world, 
And thus the universe restored 
To Indra's rule, its ancient lord. 
And now because the immortal God 
This spot in dwarflike semblance trod, 
The grove has aye been loved by me 
For reverence of the devotee. 
But demons haunt it, prompt to stay 
Each holy offering I would pay. 
Be thine, O lion-lord, to kill 
These giants that delight in ill. 
This day, beloved child, our feet 
Shall rest within the calm retreat: 
And know, thou chief of Raghu's line, 
My hermitage is also thine." 

168 This is the fifth of the avatars, descents or incarnations of Vishnu. 

169 This is a solar allegory. Vishnu is the sun, the three steps being his rising, 
culmination, and setting. 

Canto XXXI. The Perfect Hermitage. 143 

He spoke; and soon the anchorite, 
With joyous looks that beamed delight, 
With Rama and his brother stood 
Within the consecrated wood. 
Soon as they saw the holy man, 
With one accord together ran 
The dwellers in the sacred shade, 
And to the saint their reverence paid, 
And offered water for his feet, 
The gift of honour and a seat; 
And next with hospitable care 
They entertained the princely pair. 
The royal tamers of their foes 
Rested awhile in sweet repose: 
Then to the chief of hermits sued 
Standing in suppliant attitude: 
"Begin, O best of saints, we pray, 
Initiatory rites to-day. 
This Perfect Grove shall be anew 
Made perfect, and thy words be true." 

Then, thus addressed, the holy man, 
The very glorious sage, began 
The high preliminary rite. 
Restraining sense and appetite. 
Calmly the youths that night reposed, 
And rose when morn her light disclosed, 
Their morning worship paid, and took 
Of lustral water from the brook. 
Thus purified they breathed the prayer, 
Then greeted Visvamitra where 
As celebrant he sate beside 
The flame with sacred oil supplied. 

144 The Ramayana 

Canto XXXII. Visvamitra's Sacrifice. 

That conquering pair, of royal race, 
Skilled to observe due time and place, 
To Kusik's hermit son addressed, 
In timely words, their meet request: 
"When must we, lord, we pray thee tell, 
Those Rovers of the Night repel? 
Speak, lest we let the moment fly, 
And pass the due occasion by." 
Thus longing for the strife, they prayed, 
And thus the hermits answer made: 
"Till the fifth day be come and past, 
O Raghu's sons, your watch must last. 
The saint his Diksha 170 has begun, 
And all that time will speak to none." 
Soon as the steadfast devotees 
Had made reply in words like these, 
The youths began, disdaining sleep, 
Six days and nights their watch to keep. 
The warrior pair who tamed the foe, 
Unrivalled benders of the bow, 
Kept watch and ward unwearied still 
To guard the saint from scathe and ill. 
'Twas now the sixth returning day, 
The hour foretold had past away. 
Then Rama cried: "O Lakshman, now 
Firm, watchful, resolute be thou. 
The fiends as yet have kept afar 
From the pure grove in which we are: 
Yet waits us, ere the day shall close, 
Dire battle with the demon foes." 

170 Certain ceremonies preliminary to a sacrifice. 

Canto XXXII. Visvamitra's Sacrifice. 145 

While thus spoke Rama borne away 
By longing for the deadly fray, 
See! bursting from the altar came 
The sudden glory of the flame. 
Round priest and deacon, and upon 
Grass, ladles, flowers, the splendour shone, 

And the high rite, in order due, 
With sacred texts began anew. 
But then a loud and fearful roar 

Re-echoed through the sky; 
And like vast clouds that shadow o'er 

The heavens in dark July, 
Involved in gloom of magic might 

Two fiends rushed on amain, 
Maricha, Rover of the Night, 

Suvahu, and their train. 
As on they came in wild career 

Thick blood in rain they shed; 
And Rama saw those things of fear 

Impending overhead. 
Then soon as those accursed two 

Who showered down blood be spied, 
Thus to his brother brave and true 

Spoke Rama lotus-eyed: 
"Now, Lakshman, thou these fiends shalt see, 

Man-eaters, foul of mind, 
Before my mortal weapon flee 

Like clouds before the wind." 
He spoke. An arrow, swift as thought, 

Upon his bow he pressed, 
And smote, to utmost fury wrought, 

Maricha on the breast. 
Deep in his flesh the weapon lay 

Winged by the mystic spell, [045] 

146 The Ramayana 

And, hurled a hundred leagues away, 

In ocean's flood he fell. 
Then Rama, when he saw the foe 

Convulsed and mad with pain 
Neath the chill-pointed weapon's blow, 

To Lakshman spoke again: 
"See, Lakshman, see! this mortal dart 

That strikes a numbing chill, 
Hath struck him senseless with the smart, 

But left him breathing still. 
But these who love the evil way, 

And drink the blood they spill, 
Rejoicing holy rites to stay, 

Fierce plagues, my hand shall kill." 
He seized another shaft, the best, 

Aglow with living flame; 
It struck Suvahu on the chest, 

And dead to earth he came. 
Again a dart, the Wind-God's own, 

Upon his string he laid, 
And all the demons were o'erthrown, 

The saints no more afraid. 
When thus the fiends were slain in fight, 
Disturbers of each holy rite, 
Due honour by the saints was paid 
To Rama for his wondrous aid: 
So Indra is adored when he 
Has won some glorious victory. 
Success at last the rite had crowned, 
And Visvamitra gazed around, 
And seeing every side at rest, 
The son of Raghu thus addressed: 
"My joy, O Prince, is now complete: 

Thou hast obeyed my will: 

Canto XXXIII. The Sone. 147 

Perfect before, this calm retreat 
Is now more perfect still." 

Canto XXXIII. The Sone. 

Their task achieved, the princes spent 
That night with joy and full content. 
Ere yet the dawn was well displayed 
Their morning rites they duly paid, 
And sought, while yet the light was faint, 
The hermits and the mighty saint. 
They greeted first that holy sire 
Resplendent like the burning fire, 
And then with noble words began 
Their sweet speech to the sainted man: 
"Here stand, O Lord, thy servants true: 
Command what thou wouldst have us do." 

The saints, by Visvamitra led, 
To Rama thus in answer said: 
"Janak the king who rules the land 
Of fertile Mithila has planned 
A noble sacrifice, and we 
Will thither go the rite to see. 
Thou, Prince of men, with us shalt go, 
And there behold the wondrous bow, 
Terrific, vast, of matchless might, 
Which, splendid at the famous rite, 
The Gods assembled gave the king. 
No giant, fiend, or God can string 
That gem of bows, no heavenly bard: 

148 The Ramayana 

Then, sure, for man the task were hard. 

When lords of earth have longed to know 

The virtue of that wondrous bow, 

The strongest sons of kings in vain 

Have tried the mighty cord to strain. 

This famous bow thou there shalt view, 

And wondrous rites shalt witness too. 

The high-souled king who lords it o'er 

The realm of Mithila of yore 

Gained from the Gods this bow, the price 

Of his imperial sacrifice. 

Won by the rite the glorious prize 

Still in the royal palace lies, 

Laid up in oil of precious scent 

With aloe-wood and incense blent." 

Then Rama answering, Be it so, 
Made ready with the rest to go. 
The saint himself was now prepared, 
But ere beyond the grove he fared, 
He turned him and in words like these 
Addressed the sylvan deities: 
"Farewell! each holy rite complete, 
I leave the hermits' perfect seat: 
To Ganga's northern shore I go 
Beneath Himalaya's peaks of snow." 
With reverent steps he paced around 
The limits of the holy ground, 
And then the mighty saint set forth 
And took his journey to the north. 
His pupils, deep in Scripture's page, 
Followed behind the holy sage, 
And servants from the sacred grove 
A hundred wains for convoy drove. 

Canto XXXIV. Brahmadatta. 149 

The very birds that winged that air, 

The very deer that harboured there, 

Forsook the glade and leafy brake 

And followed for the hermit's sake. 

They travelled far, till in the west 

The sun was speeding to his rest, 

And made, their portioned journey o'er, 

Their halt on Sona's 171 distant shore. 

The hermits bathed when sank the sun, 

And every rite was duly done, 

Oblations paid to Fire, and then 

Sate round their chief the holy men. 

Rama and Lakshman lowly bowed 

In reverence to the hermit crowd, 

And Rama, having sate him down 

Before the saint of pure renown, [046] 

With humble palms together laid 

His eager supplication made: 

"What country, O my lord, is this, 

Fair-smiling in her wealth and bliss? 

Deign fully, O thou mighty Seer, 

To tell me, for I long to hear." 

Moved by the prayer of Rama, he 

Told forth the country's history. 

Canto XXXIV. Brahmadatta. 

171 A river which rises in Budelcund and falls into the Ganges near Patna. It is 
called also Hiranyardhu, Golden-armed, and Hiranyardha, Auriferous. 

150 The Ramayana 

"A king of Brahma's seed who bore 
The name of Kusa reigned of yore. 
Just, faithful to his vows, and true, 
He held the good in honour due. 
His bride, a queen of noble name, 
Of old Vidarbha's 172 monarchs came. 
Like their own father, children four, 
All valiant boys, the lady bore. 
In glorious deeds each nerve they strained, 
And well their Warrior part sustained. 
To them most just, and true, and brave, 
Their father thus his counsel gave: 
"Beloved children, ne'er forget 
Protection is a prince's debt: 
The noble work at once begin, 
High virtue and her fruits to win." 
The youths, to all the people dear, 
Received his speech with willing ear; 
And each went forth his several way, 
Foundations of a town to lay. 
Kusamba, prince of high renown, 
Was builder of Kausambi's town, 
And Kusanabha, just and wise, 
Bade high Mahodaya's towers arise. 
Amurtarajas chose to dwell 
In Dharmaranya's citadel, 
And Vasu bade his city fair 
The name of Girivraja bear. 173 

173 According to the Bengal recension the first (Kusamba) is called Kusasva, 
and his city Kausasvf. This name does not occur elsewhere. The reading 
of the northern recension is confirmed by Foe Koue Ki; p. 385, where the 
city Kiaoshangmi is mentioned. It lay 500 lis to the south-west of Praydga, 
on the south bank of the Jumna. Mahodaya is another name of Kanyakubja: 
Dharmdranya, the wood to which the God of Justice is said to have fled 

Canto XXXIV. Brahmadatta. 151 

This fertile spot whereon we stand 

Was once the high-souled Vasu's land. 

Behold! as round we turn our eyes, 

Five lofty mountain peaks arise. 

See! bursting from her parent hill, 

Sumagadhi, a lovely rill, 

Bright gleaming as she flows between 

The mountains, like a wreath is seen, 

And then through Magadh's plains and groves 

With many a fair mseander roves. 

And this was Vasu's old domain, 

The fertile Magadh's broad champaign, 

Which smiling fields of tilth adorn 

And diadem with golden corn. 

The queen Ghritachi, nymph most fair, 
Married to Kusanabha, bare 
A hundred daughters, lovely-faced, 
With every charm and beauty graced. 
It chanced the maidens, bright and gay 
As lightning-flashes on a day 
Of rain time, to the garden went 
With song and play and merriment, 
And there in gay attire they strayed, 
And danced, and laughed, and sang, and played. 
The God of Wind who roves at will 
All places, as he lists, to fill, 
Saw the young maidens dancing there, 
Of faultless shape and mien most fair. 
"I love you all, sweet girls," he cried, 
"And each shall be my darling bride. 
Forsake, forsake your mortal lot, 

through fear of Soma the Moon-God was in Magadh. Girivraja was in the same 
neighbourhood. See Lasson's I, A. Vol. I. p. 604. 

152 The Ramayana 

And gain a life that withers not. 
A fickle thing is youth's brief span, 
And more than all in mortal man. 
Receive unending youth, and be 
Immortal, O my loves, with me." 

The hundred girls, to wonder stirred, 
The wooing of the Wind-God heard, 
Laughed, as a jest, his suit aside, 
And with one voice they thus replied: 
"O mighty Wind, free spirit who 
All life pervadest, through and through, 
Thy wondrous power we maidens know; 
Then wherefore wilt thou mock us so? 
Our sire is Kusanabha, King; 
And we, forsooth, have charms to bring 
A God to woo us from the skies; 
But honour first we maidens prize. 
Far may the hour, we pray, be hence, 
When we, O thou of little sense, 
Our truthful father's choice refuse, 
And for ourselves our husbands choose. 
Our honoured sire our lord we deem, 
He is to us a God supreme, 
And they to whom his high decree 
May give us shall our husbands be." 

He heard the answer they returned, 
And mighty rage within him burned. 
On each fair maid a blast he sent: 
Each stately form he bowed and bent. 
Bent double by the Wind-God's ire 
[047] They sought the palace of their sire, 

Canto XXXIV. Brahmadatta. 153 

There fell upon the ground with sighs, 
While tears and shame were in their eyes. 
The king himself, with troubled brow, 
Saw his dear girls so fair but now, 
A mournful sight all bent and bowed, 
And grieving thus he cried aloud: 
"What fate is this, and what the cause? 
What wretch has scorned all heavenly laws? 
Who thus your forms could curve and break? 
You struggle, but no answer make." 

They heard the speech of that wise king 
Of their misfortune questioning. 
Again the hundred maidens sighed, 
Touched with their heads his feet, and cried: 
"The God of Wind, pervading space, 
Would bring on us a foul disgrace, 
And choosing folly's evil way 
From virtue's path in scorn would stray. 
But we in words like these reproved 
The God of Wind whom passion moved: 
"Farewell, O Lord! A sire have we, 
No women uncontrolled and free. 
Go, and our sire's consent obtain 
If thou our maiden hands wouldst gain. 
No self-dependent life we live: 
If we offend, our fault forgive." 
But led by folly as a slave, 
He would not hear the rede we gave, 
And even as we gently spoke 
We felt the Wind-God's crushing stroke." 

154 The Ramayana 

The pious king, with grief distressed, 
The noble hundred thus addressed: 
"With patience, daughters, bear your fate, 
Yours was a deed supremely great 
When with one mind you kept from shame 
The honour of your father's name. 
Patience, when men their anger vent, 
Is woman's praise and ornament; 
Yet when the Gods inflict the blow 
Hard is it to support the woe. 
Patience, my girls, exceeds all price: 
Tis alms, and truth, and sacrifice. 
Patience is virtue, patience fame: 
Patience upholds this earthly frame. 
And now, I think, is come the time 
To wed you in your maiden prime. 
Now, daughters, go where'er you will: 
Thoughts for your good my mind shall fill." 

The maidens went, consoled, away: 
The best of kings, that very day, 
Summoned his ministers of state 
About their marriage to debate. 
Since then, because the Wind-God bent 
The damsels' forms for punishment, 
That royal town is known to fame 
By Kanyakubja's 174 borrowed name. 

174 That is, the City of the Bent Virgins, the modern Kanauj or Canouge. 

Canto XXXIV. Brahmadatta. 155 

There lived a sage called Chuli then, 
Devoutest of the sons of men; 
His days in penance rites he spent, 
A glorious saint, most continent. 
To him absorbed in tasks austere 
The child of Urmila drew near, 
Sweet Somada, the heavenly maid 
And lent the saint her pious aid. 
Long time near him the maiden spent, 
And served him meek and reverent, 
Till the great hermit, pleased with her, 
Thus spoke unto his minister: 
"Grateful am I for all thy care: 
Blest maiden, speak, thy wish declare." 
The sweet-voiced nymph rejoiced to see 
The favour of the devotee, 
And to that eloquent old man, 
Most eloquent she thus began: 
"Thou hast, by heavenly grace sustained, 
Close union with the Godhead gained. 
I long, O Saint, to see a son 
By force of holy penance won. 
Unwed, a maiden life I live: 
A son to me, thy suppliant, give." 
The saint with favour heard her prayer, 
And gave a son exceeding fair. 
Him, Chuli's spiritual child, 
His mother Brahmadatta 175 styled. 
King Brahmadatta, rich and great, 
In Kampili maintained his state, 
Ruling, like Indra in his bliss, 
His fortunate metropolis. 

175 Literally, Given by Brahma or devout contemplation. 


156 The Ramayana 

King Kusanabha planned that he 

His hundred daughters' lord should be. 

To him, obedient to his call, 

The happy monarch gave them all. 

Like Indra then he took the hand 

Of every maiden of the band. 

Soon as the hand of each young maid 

In Brahmadatta's palm was laid, 

Deformity and cares away, 

She shone in beauty bright and gay. 

Their freedom from the Wind-God's might 

Saw Kusanabha with delight. 

Each glance that on their forms he threw 

Filled him with raptures ever new. 

Then when the rites were all complete, 

With highest marks of honour meet 

The bridegroom with his brides he sent 

To his great seat of government. 

The nymph received with pleasant speech 
Her daughters; and, embracing each, 
Upon their forms she fondly gazed, 
And royal Kusanabha praised. 

Canto XXXV. Visvamitra's Lineage. 

Canto XXXV. Visvamitra's Lineage. 157 

"The rites were o'er, the maids were wed, 
The bridegroom to his home was sped. 
The sonless monarch bade prepare 
A sacrifice to gain an heir. 
Then Kusa, Brahma's son, appeared, 
And thus King Kusanabha cheered: 
"Thou shalt, my child, obtain a son 
Like thine own self, O holy one. 
Through him for ever, Gadhi named, 
Shalt thou in all the worlds be famed." 
He spoke, and vanished from the sight 
To Brahma's world of endless light. 
Time fled, and, as the saint foretold, 
Gadhi was born, the holy-souled. 
My sire was he; through him I trace 
My line from royal Kusa's race. 
My sister — elder-born was she — 
The pure and good Satyavati, 176 
Was to the great Richfka wed. 
Still faithful to her husband dead, 
She followed him, most noble dame, 
And, raised to heaven in human frame, 
A pure celestial stream became. 
Down from Himalaya's snowy height, 
In floods for ever fair and bright, 
My sister's holy waves are hurled 
To purify and glad the world. 
Now on Himalaya's side I dwell 
Because I love my sister well. 

176 Now called Kosi (Cosy) corrupted from Kausikf, daughter of Kus]a. 

"This is one of those personifications of rivers so frequent in the Grecian 
mythology, but in the similar myths is seen the impress of the genius of each 
people, austere and profoundly religious in India, graceful and devoted to the 
worship of external beauty in Greece." GORRESIO{FNS. 

158 The Ramayana 

She, for her faith and truth renowned, 
Most loving to her husband found, 
High-fated, firm in each pure vow, 
Is queen of all the rivers now. 
Bound by a vow I left her side 
And to the Perfect convent hied. 
There, by the aid 'twas thine to lend, 
Made perfect, all my labours end. 
Thus, mighty Prince, I now have told 
My race and lineage, high and old, 
And local tales of long ago 
Which thou, O Rama, fain wouldst know. 
As I have sate rehearsing thus 
The midnight hour is come on us. 
Now, Rama, sleep, that nothing may 
Our journey of to-morrow stay. 
No leaf on any tree is stirred: 
Hushed in repose are beast and bird: 
Where'er you turn, on every side, 
Dense shades of night the landscape hide, 
The light of eve is fled: the skies, 
Thick-studded with their host of eyes, 
Seem a star-forest overhead, 
Where signs and constellations spread. 
Now rises, with his pure cold ray, 
The moon that drives the shades away, 
And with his gentle influence brings 
Joy to the hearts of living things. 
Now, stealing from their lairs, appear 
The beasts to whom the night is dear. 
Now spirits walk, and every power 
That revels in the midnight hour." 

Canto XXXVI. The Birth Of Ganga. 159 

The mighty hermit's tale was o'er, 
He closed his lips and spoke no more. 
The holy men on every side, 
"Well done! well done," with reverence cried; 
"The mighty men of Kusa's seed 
Were ever famed for righteous deed. 
Like Brahma's self in glory shine 
The high-souled lords of Kusa's line, 
And thy great name is sounded most, 
O Saint, amid the noble host. 
And thy dear sister — fairest she 
Of streams, the high-born Kausiki — 
Diffusing virtue where she flows, 
New splendour on thy lineage throws." 
Thus by the chief of saints addressed 
The son of Gadhi turned to rest; 
So, when his daily course is done, 
Sinks to his rest the beaming sun. 
Rama with Lakshman, somewhat stirred 
To marvel by the tales they heard, 
Turned also to his couch, to close 
His eyelids in desired repose. 

Canto XXXVI. The Birth Of Ganga. 

The hours of night now waning fast 
On Sona's pleasant shore they passed. 
Then, when the dawn began to break, 
To Rama thus the hermit spake: 
"The light of dawn is breaking clear, 
The hour of morning rites is near. 

160 The Ramayana 

Rise, Rama, rise, dear son, I pray, 
And make thee ready for the way." 

Then Rama rose, and finished all 
His duties at the hermit's call, 
Prepared with joy the road to take, 
And thus again in question spake: 
"Here fair and deep the Sona flows, 
And many an isle its bosom shows: 
What way, O Saint, will lead us o'er 
And land us on the farther shore?" 
The saint replied: "The way I choose 
[049] Is that which pious hermits use." 

For many a league they journeyed on 
Till, when the sun of mid-day shone, 
The hermit-haunted flood was seen 
Of Mhnavi, 177 the Rivers' Queen. 
Soon as the holy stream they viewed, 
Thronged with a white-winged multitude 
Of sarases 178 and swans, 179 delight 
Possessed them at the lovely sight; 
And then prepared the hermit band 
To halt upon that holy strand. 
They bathed as Scripture bids, and paid 
Oblations due to God and shade. 
To Fire they burnt the offerings meet, 
And sipped the oil, like Amrit sweet. 
Then pure and pleased they sate around 
Saint Visvamitra on the ground. 
The holy men of lesser note, 

177 One of the names of the Ganges considered as the daughter of Jahnu. See 
Canto XLIV. 

178 . 

179 Or, rather, geese. 

Canto XXXVI. The Birth Of Ganga. 1 6 1 

In due degree, sate more remote, 
While Raghu's sons took nearer place 
By virtue of their rank and race. 
Then Rama said: "O Saint, I yearn 
The three-pathed Ganga's tale to learn." 

Thus urged, the sage recounted both 
The birth of Ganga and her growth: 
"The mighty hill with metals stored, 
Himalaya, is the mountains' lord, 
The father of a lovely pair 
Of daughters fairest of the fair: 
Their mother, offspring of the will 
Of Meru, everlasting hill, 
Mena, Himalaya's darling, graced 
With beauty of her dainty waist. 
Ganga was elder-born: then came 
The fair one known by Uma's name. 
Then all the Gods of heaven, in need 
Of Ganga's help their vows to speed, 
To great Himalaya came and prayed 
The mountain King to yield the maid. 
He, not regardless of the weal 
Of the three worlds, with holy zeal 
His daughter to the Immortals gave, 
Ganga whose waters cleanse and save, 
Who roams at pleasure, fair and free, 
Purging all sinners, to the sea. 
The three-pathed Ganga thus obtained, 
The Gods their heavenly homes regained. 
Long time the sister Uma passed 
In vows austere and rigid fast, 
And the king gave the devotee 

162 The Ramayana 

Immortal Rudra's 180 bride to be, 
Matching with that unequalled Lord 
His Uma through the worlds adored. 
So now a glorious station fills 
Each daughter of the King of Hills: 
One honoured as the noblest stream, 
One mid the Goddesses supreme. 
Thus Ganga, King Himalaya's child, 
The heavenly river, undefiled, 
Rose bearing with her to the sky 
Her waves that bless and purify." 

[I am compelled to omit Cantos XXXVII and XXXVIII, The 
Glory of Uma, and the Birth of Kartikeya, as both in subject 
and language offensive to modern taste. They will be found in 
Schlegel's Latin translation.] 

Canto XXXIX. The Sons Of Sagar. 

The saint in accents sweet and clear 
Thus told his tale for Rama's ear, 
And thus anew the holy man 
A legend to the prince began: 
"There reigned a pious monarch o'er 
Ayodhya in the days of yore: 
Sagar his name: no child had he, 
And children much he longed to see. 
His honoured consort, fair of face, 
Sprang from Vidarbha's royal race, 
Kesini, famed from early youth 

Canto XXXIX. The Sons Of Sagar. 163 

For piety and love of truth. 

Arishtanemi's daughter fair, 

With whom no maiden might compare 

In beauty, though the earth is wide, 

Sumati, was his second bride. 

With his two queens afar he went, 

And weary days in penance spent, 

Fervent, upon Himalaya's hill 

Where springs the stream called Bhrigu' rill. 

Nor did he fail that saint to please 

With his devout austerities. 

And, when a hundred years had fled, 

Thus the most truthful Bhrigu said: 

"From thee, O Sagar, blameless King, 

A mighty host of sons shall spring, 

And thou shalt win a glorious name 

Which none, O Chief, but thou shall claim. 

One of thy queens a son shall bear, 

Maintainer of thy race and heir; 

And of the other there shall be 

Sons sixty thousand born to thee." 

Thus as he spake, with one accord, 
To win the grace of that high lord, 
The queens, with palms together laid, 
In humble supplication prayed: 
"Which queen, O Brahman, of the pair, 
The many, or the one shall bear? 
Most eager, Lord, are we to know, 

And as thou sayest be it so." [050] 

With his sweet speech the saint replied: 
"Yourselves, O Queens, the choice decide. 
Your own discretion freely use 
Which shall the one or many choose: 

164 The Ramayana 

One shall the race and name uphold, 

The host be famous, strong, and bold. 

Which will have which?" Then Kesini 

The mother of one heir would be. 

Sumati, sister of the king 181 

Of all the birds that ply the wing, 

To that illustrious Brahman sued 

That she might bear the multitude 

Whose fame throughout the world should sound 

For mighty enterprise renowned. 

Around the saint the monarch went, 

Bowing his head, most reverent. 

Then with his wives, with willing feet, 

Resought his own imperial seat. 

Time passed. The elder consort bare 

A son called Asamanj, the heir. 

Then Sumati, the younger, gave 

Birth to a gourd, 182 O hero brave, 

Whose rind, when burst and cleft in two, 

Gave sixty thousand babes to view. 

All these with care the nurses laid 

In jars of oil; and there they stayed, 

Till, youthful age and strength complete, 

Forth speeding from each dark retreat, 

All peers in valour, years, and might, 

The sixty thousand came to light. 

Prince Asamanj, brought up with care, 

Scourge of his foes, was made the heir. 

But liegemen's boys he used to cast 

To Sarju's waves that hurried past, 

Laughing the while in cruel glee 

181 Garuda. 

182 Ikshvaku, the name of a king of Ayodhya who is regarded as the founder of 
the Solar race, means also a gourd. Hence, perhaps, the myth. 

Canto XL. The Cleaving Of The Earth. 1 65 

Their dying agonies to see. 
This wicked prince who aye withstood 
The counsel of the wise and good, 
Who plagued the people in his hate, 
His father banished from the state. 
His son, kind-spoken, brave, and tall, 
Was Ansuman, beloved of all. 

Long years flew by. The king decreed 
To slay a sacrificial steed. 
Consulting with his priestly band 
He vowed the rite his soul had planned, 
And, Veda skilled, by their advice 
Made ready for the sacrifice. 

Canto XL. The Cleaving Of The Earth. 

The hermit ceased: the tale was done: 
Then in a transport Raghu's son 
Again addressed the ancient sire 
Resplendent as a burning fire: 
"O holy man, I fain would hear 
The tale repeated full and clear 
How he from whom my sires descend 
Brought the great rite to happy end." 
The hermit answered with a smile: 
"Then listen, son of Raghu, while 
My legendary tale proceeds 
To tell of high-souled Sagar's deeds. 
Within the spacious plain that lies 
From where Himalaya's heights arise 

166 The Ramayana 

To where proud Vindhya's rival chain 
Looks down upon the subject plain — 
A land the best for rites declared 183 . 

His sacrifice the king prepared. 
And Ansuman the prince — for so 
Sagar advised — with ready bow 
Was borne upon a mighty car 
To watch the steed who roamed afar. 
But Indra, monarch of the skies, 
Veiling his form in demon guise, 
Came down upon the appointed day 
And drove the victim horse away. 
Reft of the steed the priests, distressed, 
The master of the rite addressed: 
"Upon the sacred day by force 
A robber takes the victim horse. 
Haste, King! now let the thief be slain; 
Bring thou the charger back again: 
The sacred rite prevented thus 
Brings scathe and woe to all of us. 
Rise, monarch, and provide with speed 
That naught its happy course impede." 

183 "The region here spoken of is called in the Laws of Manu Madhyadesa or 
the middle region. 'The region situated between the Himalaya and the Vindhya 
Mountains ... is called Madhyadesa, or the middle region; the space comprised 
between these two mountains from the eastern to the western sea is called by 
sages Aryavartta, the seat of honourable men.' (MANUJFNS, II, 21, 22.) The 
Sanskrit Indians called themselves Aryans, which means honourable, noble, 
to distinguish themselves from the surrounding nations of different origin." 

Canto XL. The Cleaving Of The Earth. 1 67 

King Sagar in his crowded court 
Gave ear unto the priests' report. 
He summoned straightway to his side 
His sixty thousand sons, and cried: 
"Brave sons of mine, I knew not how 
These demons are so mighty now: 
The priests began the rite so well 
All sanctified with prayer and spell. 
If in the depths of earth he hide, 

Or lurk beneath the ocean's tide, [051] 

Pursue, dear sons, the robber's track; 
Slay him and bring the charger back. 
The whole of this broad earth explore, 
Sea-garlanded, from shore to shore: 
Yea, dig her up with might and main 
Until you see the horse again. 
Deep let your searching labour reach, 
A league in depth dug out by each. 
The robber of our horse pursue, 
And please your sire who orders you. 
My grandson, I, this priestly train, 
Till the steed comes, will here remain." 

Their eager hearts with transport burned 
As to their task the heroes turned. 
Obedient to their father, they 
Through earth's recesses forced their way. 
With iron arms' unflinching toil 
Each dug a league beneath the soil. 
Earth, cleft asunder, groaned in pain, 
As emulous they plied amain 
Sharp-pointed coulter, pick, and bar, 
Hard as the bolts of Indra are. 
Then loud the horrid clamour rose 

168 The Ramayana 

Of monsters dying neath their blows, 
Giant and demon, fiend and snake, 
That in earth's core their dwelling make. 
They dug, in ire that naught could stay, 
Through sixty thousand leagues their way, 
Cleaving the earth with matchless strength 
Till hell itself they reached at length. 
Thus digging searched they Jambudvip 184 
With all its hills and mountains steep. 
Then a great fear began to shake 
The heart of God, bard, fiend, and snake, 
And all distressed in spirit went 
Before the Sire Omnipotent. 
With signs of woe in every face 
They sought the mighty Father's grace, 
And trembling still and ill at ease 
Addressed their Lord in words like these: 
"The sons of Sagar, Sire benign, 
Pierce the whole earth with mine on mine, 
And as their ruthless work they ply 
Innumerable creatures die. 
"This is the thief," the princes say, 
"Who stole our victim steed away. 
This marred the rite, and caused us ill, 
And so their guiltless blood they spill." 

Canto XLI. Kapil. 

184 Said to be so called from the Jambu, or Rose Apple, abounding in it, and 
signifying according to the Puranas the central division of the world, the known 

Canto XLI. Kapil. 169 

The father lent a gracious ear 
And listened to their tale of fear, 
And kindly to the Gods replied 
Whom woe and death had terrified: 
"The wisest Vasudeva, 185 who 
The Immortals' foe, fierce Madhu, slew, 
Regards broad Earth with love and pride 
And guards, in Kapil's form, his bride. 186 
His kindled wrath will quickly fall 
On the king's sons and burn them all. 
This cleaving of the earth his eye 
Foresaw in ages long gone by: 
He knew with prescient soul the fate 
That Sagar's children should await." 

The Three-and-thirty, 187 freed from fear, 
Sought their bright homes with hopeful cheer. 
Still rose the great tempestuous sound 
As Sagar's children pierced the ground. 
When thus the whole broad earth was cleft, 
And not a spot unsearched was left, 

186 Kings are called the husbands of their kingdoms or of the earth; "She and 
his kingdom were his only brides." Raghuvansa. 

"Doubly divorced! Bad men, you violate 
A double marriage, 'twixt my crown and me, 
And then between me and my married wife." 

King Richard II. Act V. Sc. I. 

187 The thirty-three Gods are said in the Aitareya Brdhmana, Book I. ch. II. 10. 
to be the eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras, the twelve Adityas, Prajapati, either 
Brahma or Daksha, and Vashatkara or deified oblation. This must have been 
the actual number at the beginning of the Vedic religion gradually increased 
by successive mythical and religious creations till the Indian Pantheon was 
crowded with abstractions of every kind. Through the reverence with which the 
words of the Veda were regarded, the immense host of multiplied divinities, in 
later times, still bore the name of the Thirty-three Gods. 

170 The Ramayana 

Back to their home the princes sped, 
And thus unto their father said: 
"We searched the earth from side to side, 
While countless hosts of creatures died. 
Our conquering feet in triumph trod 
On snake and demon, fiend and God; 
But yet we failed, with all our toil, 
To find the robber and the spoil. 
What can we more? If more we can, 
Devise, O King, and tell thy plan." 

His children's speech King Sagar heard, 
And answered thus, to anger stirred: 
"Dig on, and ne'er your labour stay 
Till through earth's depths you force your way. 
Then smite the robber dead, and bring 
[052] The charger back with triumphing." 

The sixty thousand chiefs obeyed: 
Deep through the earth their way they made. 
Deep as they dug and deeper yet 
The immortal elephant they met, 
Famed Virupaksha 188 vast of size, 
Upon whose head the broad earth lies: 
The mighty beast who earth sustains 

188 "One of the elephants which, according to an ancient belief popular in India, 
supported the earth with their enormous backs; when one of these elephants 
shook his wearied head the earth trembled with its woods and hills. An idea, or 
rather a mythical fancy, similar to this, but reduced to proportions less grand, 
is found in Virgil when he speaks of Enceladus buried under /Etna:" 

"adi semiustum fulmine corpus 
Urged mole hac, ingentemque insuper /Etnam 
Impositam, ruptis flammam expirare caminis; 
Et fessum quoties mutat latus, intre mere omnem 
iam, et caelum subtexere fumo." 


Canto XLI. Kapil. 171 

With shaggy hills and wooded plains. 

When, with the changing moon, distressed, 

And longing for a moment's rest, 

His mighty head the monster shakes, 

Earth to the bottom reels and quakes. 

Around that warder strong and vast 

With reverential steps they passed. 

Nor, when the honour due was paid, 

Their downward search through earth delayed. 

But turning from the east aside 

Southward again their task they plied. 

There Mahapadma held his place, 

The best of all his mighty race, 

Like some huge hill, of monstrous girth, 

Upholding on his head the earth. 

When the vast beast the princes saw, 

They marvelled and were filled with awe. 

The sons of high-souled Sagar round 

That elephant in reverence wound. 

Then in the western region they 

With might unwearied cleft their way. 

There saw they with astonisht eyes 

Saumanas, beast of mountain size. 

Round him with circling steps they went 

With greetings kind and reverent. 

172 The Ramayana 

On, on — no thought of rest or stay — 
They reached the seat of Soma's sway. 
There saw they Bhadra, white as snow, 
With lucky marks that fortune show, 
Bearing the earth upon his head. 
Round him they paced with solemn tread, 
And honoured him with greetings kind, 
Then downward yet their way they mined. 
They gained the tract 'twixt east and north 
Whose fame is ever blazoned forth, 189 
And by a storm of rage impelled, 
Digging through earth their course they held. 

Then all the princes, lofty-souled, 
Of wondrous vigour, strong and bold, 
Saw Vasudeva 190 standing there 
In Kapil's form he loved to wear, 
And near the everlasting God 
The victim charger cropped the sod. 
They saw with joy and eager eyes 
The fancied robber and the prize, 
And on him rushed the furious band 
Crying aloud, Stand, villain! stand! 
"Avaunt! avaunt!" great Kapil cried, 
His bosom flusht with passion's tide; 

189 "jjjg fjevas and Asuras (Gods and Titans) fought in the east, the south, the 
west, and the north, and the Devas were defeated by the Asuras in all these 
directions. They then fought in the north-eastern direction; there the Devas did 
not sustain defeat. This direction is apardjitd, i.e. unconquerable. Thence one 
should do work in this direction, and have it done there; for such a one (alone) 
is able to clear off his debts." HAUG'S{FNS Aitareya Brdhmanam, Vol. II, p. 

The debts here spoken of are a man's religious obligations to the Gods, the 
Pitaras or Manes, and men. 

Canto XLII. Sagar's Sacrifice. 173 

Then by his might that proud array 
All scorcht to heaps of ashes lay. 191 

Canto XLII. Sagar's Sacrifice. 

Then to the prince his grandson, bright 

With his own fame's unborrowed light, 

King Sagar thus began to say, 

Marvelling at his sons' delay: 

"Thou art a warrior skilled and bold, 

Match for the mighty men of old. 

Now follow on thine uncles' course 

And track the robber of the horse. [053] 

To guard thee take thy sword and bow, 

for huge and strong are beasts below. 

There to the reverend reverence pay, 

And kill the foes who check thy way; 

Then turn successful home and see 

My sacrifice complete through thee." 

191 "It appears to me that this mythical story has reference to the volcanic 
phenomena of nature. Kapil may very possibly be that hidden fiery force 
which suddenly unprisons itself and bursts forth in volcanic effects. Kapil is, 
moreover, one of the names of Agni the God of Fire." GORRESIO{FNS. 

174 The Ramayana 

Obedient to the high-souled lord 
Grasped Ansuman his bow and sword, 
And hurried forth the way to trace 
With youth and valour's eager pace. 
On sped he by the path he found 
Dug by his uncles underground. 
The warder elephant he saw 
Whose size and strength pass Nature's law, 
Who bears the world's tremendous weight, 
Whom God, fiend, giant venerate, 
Bird, serpent, and each flitting shade, 
To him the honour meet he paid 
With circling steps and greeting due, 
And further prayed him, if he knew, 
To tell him of his uncles' weal, 
And who had dared the horse to steal. 
To him in war and council tried 
The warder elephant replied: 
"Thou, son of Asamanj, shalt lead 
In triumph back the rescued steed." 

As to each warder beast he came 
And questioned all, his words the same, 
The honoured youth with gentle speech 
Drew eloquent reply from each, 
That fortune should his steps attend, 
And with the horse he home should wend. 
Cheered with the grateful answer, he 
Passed on with step more light and free, 
And reached with careless heart the place 
Where lay in ashes Sagar's race. 
Then sank the spirit of the chief 
Beneath that shock of sudden grief, 
And with a bitter cry of woe 

Canto XLII. Sagar's Sacrifice. 175 

He mourned his kinsmen fallen so. 
He saw, weighed down by woe and care, 
The victim charger roaming there. 
Yet would the pious chieftain fain 
Oblations offer to the slain: 
But, needing water for the rite, 
He looked and there was none in sight 
His quick eye searching all around 
The uncle of his kinsmen found, 
King Garud, best beyond compare 
Of birds who wing the fields of air. 
Then thus unto the weeping man 
The son of Vinata 192 began: 
"Grieve not, O hero, for their fall 
Who died a death approved of all. 
Of mighty strength, they met their fate 
By Kapil's hand whom none can mate. 
Pour forth for them no earthly wave, 
A holier flood their spirits crave. 
If, daughter of the Lord of Snow, 
Ganga would turn her stream below, 
Her waves that cleanse all mortal stain 
Would wash their ashes pure again. 
Yea, when her flood whom all revere 
Rolls o'er the dust that moulders here, 
The sixty thousand, freed from sin, 
A home in Indra's heaven shall win. 
Go, and with ceaseless labour try 
To draw the Goddess from the sky. 
Return, and with thee take the steed; 
So shall thy grandsire's rite succeed." 

Garud was the son of Kasyap and Vinata. 

176 The Ramayana 

Prince Ansuman the strong and brave 
Followed the rede Suparna 193 gave. 
The glorious hero took the horse, 
And homeward quickly bent his course. 
Straight to the anxious king he hied, 
Whom lustral rites had purified, 
The mournful story to unfold 
And all the king of birds had told. 
The tale of woe the monarch heard, 
Nor longer was the rite deferred: 
With care and just observance he 
Accomplished all, as texts decree. 
The rites performed, with brighter fame, 
Mighty in counsel, home he came. 
He longed to bring the river down, 
But found no plan his wish to crown. 
He pondered long with anxious thought 
But saw no way to what he sought. 
Thus thirty thousand years he spent, 
And then to heaven the monarch went. 

Canto XLIII. Bhagirath. 

When Sagar thus had bowed to fate, 
The lords and commons of the state 
Approved with ready heart and will 
Prince Ansuman his throne to fill. 
He ruled, a mighty king, unblamed, 
Sire of Dihpa justly famed. 

193 Garud. 

Canto XLIII. Bhagirath. 177 

To him, his child and worthy heir, 

The king resigned his kingdom's care, 

And on Himalaya's pleasant side 

His task austere of penance plied. 

Bright as a God in clear renown 

He planned to bring pure Ganga down. 

There on his fruitless hope intent 

Twice sixteen thousand years he spent, 

And in the grove of hermits stayed 

Till bliss in heaven his rites repaid. 

Dihpa then, the good and great, 

Soon as he learnt his kinsmen's fate, 

Bowed down by woe, with troubled mind, [054] 

Pondering long no cure could find. 

"How can I bring," the mourner sighed, 

"To cleanse their dust, the heavenly tide? 

How can I give them rest, and save 

Their spirits with the offered wave?" 

Long with this thought his bosom skilled 

In holy discipline was filled. 

A son was born, Bhagirath named, 

Above all men for virtue famed. 

Dihpa many a rite ordained, 

And thirty thousand seasons reigned. 

But when no hope the king could see 

His kinsmen from their woe to free, 

The lord of men, by sickness tried, 

Obeyed the law of fate, and died; 

He left the kingdom to his son, 

And gained the heaven his deeds had won. 

The good Bhagirath, royal sage, 

Had no fair son to cheer his age. 

He, great in glory, pure in will, 

Longing for sons was childless still. 

178 The Ramayana 

Then on one wish, one thought intent, 
Planning the heavenly stream's descent, 
Leaving his ministers the care 
And burden of his state to bear, 
Dwelling in far Gokarna 194 he 
Engaged in long austerity. 
With senses checked, with arms upraised, 
Five fires 195 around and o'er him blazed. 
Each weary month the hermit passed 
Breaking but once his awful fast. 
In winter's chill the brook his bed, 
In rain, the clouds to screen his head. 
Thousands of years he thus endured 
Till Brahma's favour was assured, 
And the high Lord of living things 
Looked kindly on his sufferings. 
With trooping Gods the Sire came near 
The king who plied his task austere: 
"Blest Monarch, of a glorious race, 
Thy fervent rites have won my grace. 
Well hast thou wrought thine awful task: 
Some boon in turn, O Hermit, ask." 

Bhagirath, rich in glory's light, 
The hero with the arm of might, 
Thus to the Lord of earth and sky 
Raised suppliant hands and made reply: 
"If the great God his favour deigns, 
And my long toil its fruit obtains, 
Let Sagar's sons receive from me 
Libations that they long to see. 
Let Ganga with her holy wave 

194 A famous and venerated region near the Malabar coast. 

Canto XLIV. The Descent Of Ganga. 179 

The ashes of the heroes lave, 
That so my kinsmen may ascend 
To heavenly bliss that ne'er shall end. 
And give, I pray, O God, a son, 
Nor let my house be all undone. 
Sire of the worlds! be this the grace 
Bestowed upon Ikshvaku's race." 

The Sire, when thus the king had prayed, 
In sweet kind words his answer made. 
"High, high thy thought and wishes are, 
Bhagirath of the mighty car! 
Ikshvaku's line is blest in thee, 
And as thou prayest it shall be. 
Ganga, whose waves in Swarga 196 flow, 
Is daughter of the Lord of Snow. 
Win Siva that his aid be lent 
To hold her in her mid descent, 
For earth alone will never bear 
Those torrents hurled from upper air; 
And none may hold her weight but He, 
The Trident wielding deity." 
Thus having said, the Lord supreme 
Addressed him to the heavenly stream; 
And then with Gods and Maruts 197 went 
To heaven above the firmament. 

Canto XLIV. The Descent Of Ganga. 

180 The Ramayana 

The Lord of life the skies regained: 
The fervent king a year remained 
With arms upraised, refusing rest 
While with one toe the earth he pressed, 
Still as a post, with sleepless eye, 
The air his food, his roof the sky. 
The year had past. Then Uma's lord, 198 
King of creation, world adored, 
Thus spoke to great Bhagirath: "I, 
Well pleased thy wish will gratify, 
And on my head her waves shall fling 
The daughter of the Mountains' King!" 

He stood upon the lofty crest 

That crowns the Lord of Snow, 
And bade the river of the Blest 

Descend on earth below. 
Himalaya's child, adored of all, 

The haughty mandate heard, 
And her proud bosom, at the call, 

With furious wrath was stirred. 
Down from her channel in the skies 

With awful might she sped 
With a giant's rush, in a giant's size, 

On Siva's holy head. 
"He calls me," in her wrath she cried, 

"And all my flood shall sweep 
And whirl him in its whelming tide 

To hell's profoundest deep." 
He held the river on his head, 

And kept her wandering, where, 
Dense as Himalaya's woods, were spread 
[055] The tangles of his hair. 

Canto XLIV. The Descent Of Ganga. 1 8 1 

No way to earth she found, ashamed, 

Though long and sore she strove, 
Condemned, until her pride were tamed, 

Amid his locks to rove. 
There, many lengthening seasons through, 

The wildered river ran: 
Bhagirath saw it, and anew 

His penance dire began. 
Then Siva, for the hermit's sake, 

Bade her long wanderings end, 
And sinking into Vindu's lake 

Her weary waves descend. 
From Ganga, by the God set free, 

Seven noble rivers came; 
Hladini, Pavani, and she 

Called Nalini by name: 
These rolled their lucid waves along 

And sought the eastern side. 
Suchakshu, SM fair and strong, 

And Sindhu's mighty tide — 199 
These to the region of the west 

With joyful waters sped: 
The seventh, the brightest and the best, 

Flowed where Bhagirath led. 
On Siva's head descending first 

A rest the torrents found: 
Then down in all their might they burst 

And roared along the ground. 
On countless glittering scales the beam 

Of rosy morning flashed, 

199 The lake Vindu does not exist. Of the seven rivers here mentioned two only, 
the Ganges and the Sindhu or Indus, are known to geographers. Hladini means 
the Gladdener, Pavani the Purifier, Nalini the Lotus-Clad, and Suchakshu the 

1 82 The Ramayana 

Where fish and dolphins through the stream 

Fallen and falling dashed. 
Then bards who chant celestial lays 

And nymphs of heavenly birth 
Flocked round upon that flood to gaze 

That streamed from sky to earth. 
The Gods themselves from every sphere, 

Incomparably bright, 
Borne in their golden cars drew near 

To see the wondrous sight. 
The cloudless sky was all aflame 

With the light of a hundred suns 
Where'er the shining chariots came 

That bore those holy ones. 
So flashed the air with crested snakes 

And fish of every hue 
As when the lightning's glory breaks 

Through fields of summer blue. 
And white foam-clouds and silver spray 

Were wildly tossed on high, 
Like swans that urge their homeward way 

Across the autumn sky. 
Now ran the river calm and clear 

With current strong and deep: 
Now slowly broadened to a mere, 

Or scarcely seemed to creep. 
Now o'er a length of sandy plain 

Her tranquil course she held; 
Now rose her waves and sank again, 

By refluent waves repelled. 
So falling first on Siva's head, 
Thence rushing to their earthly bed, 
In ceaseless fall the waters streamed, 
And pure with holy lustre gleamed. 

Canto XLIV. The Descent Of Ganga. 1 83 

Then every spirit, sage, and bard, 

Condemned to earth by sentence hard, 

Pressed eagerly around the tide 

That Siva's touch had sanctified. 

Then they whom heavenly doom had hurled, 

Accursed, to this lower world, 

Touched the pure wave, and freed from sin 

Resought the skies and entered in. 

And all the world was glad, whereon 

The glorious water flowed and shone, 

For sin and stain were banished thence 

By the sweet river's influence. 

First, in a car of heavenly frame, 

The royal saint of deathless name, 

Bhagirath, very glorious rode, 

And after him fair Ganga flowed. 

God, sage, and bard, the chief in place 

Of spirits and the Naga race, 

Nymph, giant, fiend, in long array 

Sped where Bhagirath led the way; 

And all the hosts the flood that swim 

Followed the stream that followed him. 

Where'er the great Bhagirath led, 

There ever glorious Ganga fled, 

The best of floods, the rivers' queen, 

Whose waters wash the wicked clean. 

It chanced that Jahnu, great and good, 
Engaged with holy offerings stood; 
The river spread her waves around 
Flooding his sacrificial ground. 
The saint in anger marked her pride, 
And at one draught her stream he dried. 
Then God, and sage, and bard, afraid, 

1 84 The Ramayana 

To noble high-souled Jahnu prayed, 
And begged that he would kindly deem 
His own dear child that holy stream. 
Moved by their suit, he soothed their fears 
And loosed her waters from his ears. 
Hence Ganga through the world is styled 
Both Jahnavi and Jahnu's child. 
Then onward still she followed fast, 
And reached the great sea bank at last. 
Thence deep below her way she made 
To end those rites so long delayed. 
The monarch reached the Ocean's side, 
And still behind him Ganga hied. 
He sought the depths which open lay 
Where Sagar's sons had dug their way. 
So leading through earth's nether caves 
[056] The river's purifying waves, 

Over his kinsmen's dust the lord 
His funeral libation poured. 
Soon as the flood their dust bedewed, 
Their spirits gained beatitude, 
And all in heavenly bodies dressed 
Rose to the skies' eternal rest. 

Then thus to King Bhagirath said 
Brahma, when, coming at the head 
Of all his bright celestial train, 
He saw those spirits freed from stain: 
"Well done! great Prince of men, well done! 
Thy kinsmen bliss and heaven have won. 
The sons of Sagar mighty-souled, 
Are with the Blest, as Gods, enrolled, 
Long as the Ocean's flood shall stand 
Upon the border of the land, 

Canto XLIV. The Descent Of Ganga. 1 85 

So long shall Sagar's sons remain, 

And, godlike, rank in heaven retain. 

Ganga thine eldest child shall be, 

Called from thy name Bhagirathi; 

Named also — for her waters fell 

From heaven and flow through earth and hell — 

Tripathaga, stream of the skies, 

Because three paths she glorifies. 

And, mighty King, 'tis given thee now 

To free thee and perform thy vow. 

No longer, happy Prince, delay 

Drink-offerings to thy kin to pay. 

For this the holiest Sagar sighed, 

But mourned the boon he sought denied. 

Then Ansuman, dear Prince! although 

No brighter name the world could show, 

Strove long the heavenly flood to gain 

To visit earth, but strove in vain. 

Nor was she by the sages' peer, 

Blest with all virtues, most austere, 

Thy sire Dilipa, hither brought, 

Though with fierce prayers the boon he sought. 

But thou, O King, earned success, 

And won high fame which God will bless. 

Through thee, O victor of thy foes, 

On earth this heavenly Ganga flows, 

And thou hast gained the meed divine 

That waits on virtue such as thine. 

Now in her ever holy wave 

Thyself, O best of heroes, lave: 

So shalt thou, pure from every sin, 

The blessed fruit of merit win. 

Now for thy kin who died of yore 

The meet libations duly pour. 

186 The Ramayana 

Above the heavens I now ascend: 
Depart, and bliss thy steps attend." 

Thus to the mighty king who broke 
His foemens' might, Lord Brahma spoke, 
And with his Gods around him rose 
To his own heaven of blest repose. 
The royal sage no more delayed, 
But, the libation duly paid, 
Home to his regal city hied 
With water cleansed and purified. 
There ruled he his ancestral state, 
Best of all men, most fortunate. 
And all the people joyed again 
In good Bhagirath's gentle reign. 
Rich, prosperous, and blest were they, 
And grief and sickness fled away. 
Thus, Rama, I at length have told 
How Ganga came from heaven of old. 
Now, for the evening passes swift, 
I wish thee each auspicious gift. 
This story of the flood's descent 
Will give — for 'tis most excellent — 
Wealth, purity, fame, length of days, 
And to the skies its hearers raise" 

Canto XLV. The Quest Of The Amrit. 

Canto XLV. The Quest Of The Amrit. 1 87 

High and more high their wonder rose 
As the strange story reached its close, 
And thus, with Lakshman, Rama, best 
Of Raghu's sons, the saint addressed: 
"Most wondrous is the tale which thou 
Hast told of heavenly Ganga, how 
From realms above descending she 
Flowed through the land and filled the sea. 
In thinking o'er what thou hast said 
The night has like a moment fled, 
Whose hours in musing have been spent 
Upon thy words most excellent: 
So much, O holy Sage, thy lore 
Has charmed us with this tale of yore." 

Day dawned. The morning rites were done 
And the victorious Raghu's son 
Addressed the sage in words like these, 
Rich in his long austerities: 
"The night is past: the morn is clear; 
Told is the tale so good to hear: 
Now o'er that river let us go, 
Three-pathed, the best of all that flow. 
This boat stands ready on the shore 
To bear the holy hermits o'er, 
Who of thy coming warned, in haste, 
The barge upon the bank have placed." 

And Kusik's son approved his speech, 
And moving to the sandy beach, 
Placed in the boat the hermit band, 
And reached the river's further strand. 
On the north bank their feet they set, 
And greeted all the saints they met. 

188 The Ramayana 

On Ganga's shore they lighted down, 
And saw Visala's lovely town. 
Thither, the princes by his side, 
The best of holy hermits hied. 
[057] It was a town exceeding fair 

That might with heaven itself compare. 
Then, suppliant palm to palm applied, 
Famed Rama asked his holy guide: 
"O best of hermits, say what race 
Of monarchs rules this lovely place. 
Dear master, let my prayer prevail, 
For much I long to hear the tale." 
Moved by his words, the saintly man 
Visala's ancient tale began: 
"List, Rama, list, with closest heed 
The tale of Indra's wondrous deed, 
And mark me as I truly tell 
What here in ancient days befell. 
Ere Krita's famous Age 200 had fled, 
Strong were the sons of Diti 201 bred; 
And Aditi's brave children too 
Were very mighty, good, and true. 
The rival brothers fierce and bold 
Were sons of Kasyap lofty-souled. 
Of sister mothers born, they vied, 
Brood against brood, in jealous pride. 
Once, as they say, band met with band, 
And, joined in awful council, planned 
To live, unharmed by age and time, 
Immortal in their youthful prime. 
Then this was, after due debate, 

200 The First or Golden Age. 

201 Diti and Aditi were wives of Kasyap, and mothers respectively of Titans 
and Gods. 

Canto XLV. The Quest Of The Amrit. 1 89 

The counsel of the wise and great, 

To churn with might the milky sea 202 

The life-bestowing drink to free. 

This planned, they seized the Serpent King, 

Vasuki, for their churning-string, 

And Mandar's mountain for their pole, 

And churned with all their heart and soul. 

As thus, a thousand seasons through, 

This way and that the snake they drew, 

Biting the rocks, each tortured head, 

A very deadly venom shed. 

Thence, bursting like a mighty flame, 

A pestilential poison came, 

Consuming, as it onward ran, 

The home of God, and fiend, and man. 

Then all the suppliant Gods in fear 

To Sankar, 203 mighty lord, drew near. 

To Rudra, King of Herds, dismayed, 

"Save us, O save us, Lord!" they prayed. 

Then Vishnu, bearing shell, and mace, 

And discus, showed his radiant face, 

And thus addressed in smiling glee 

The Trident wielding deity: 

"What treasure first the Gods upturn 

From troubled Ocean, as they churn, 

Should — for thou art the eldest — be 

Conferred, O best of Gods, on thee. 

Then come, and for thy birthright's sake, 

This venom as thy first fruits take." 

He spoke, and vanished from their sight, 

When Siva saw their wild affright, 

And heard his speech by whom is borne 

202 One of the seven seas surrounding as many worlds in concentric rings. 

190 The Ramayana 

The mighty bow of bending horn, 204 
The poisoned flood at once he quaffed 
As 'twere the Amrit's heavenly draught. 
Then from the Gods departing went 
Siva, the Lord pre-eminent. 
The host of Gods and Asurs still 
Kept churning with one heart and will. 
But Mandar's mountain, whirling round, 
Pierced to the depths below the ground. 
Then Gods and bards in terror flew 
To him who mighty Madhu slew. 
"Help of all beings ! more than all, 
The Gods on thee for aid may call. 
Ward off, O mighty-armed! our fate, 
And bear up Mandar's threatening weight." 
Then Vishnu, as their need was sore, 
The semblance of a tortoise wore, 
And in the bed of Ocean lay 
The mountain on his back to stay. 
Then he, the soul pervading all, 
Whose locks in radiant tresses fall, 
One mighty arm extended still, 
And grasped the summit of the hill. 
So ranged among the Immortals, he 
Joined in the churning of the sea. 

204 "Sarrigin, literally carrying a bow of horn, is a constantly recurring name 
of Vishnu. The Indians also, therefore, knew the art of making bows out of the 
hons of antelopes or wild goats, which Homer ascribes to the Trojans of the 
heroic age." SCHLEGELJFNS. 

Canto XLV. The Quest Of The Amrit. 191 

A thousand years had reached their close, 
When calmly from the ocean rose 
The gentle sage 205 with staff and can, 
Lord of the art of healing man. 
Then as the waters foamed and boiled, 
As churning still the Immortals toiled, 
Of winning face and lovely frame, 
Forth sixty million fair ones came. 
Born of the foam and water, these 

Were aptly named Apsarases. [058] 

Each had her maids. The tongue would fail — 
So vast the throng — to count the tale. 
But when no God or Titan wooed 
A wife from all that multitude, 
Refused by all, they gave their love 
In common to the Gods above. 
Then from the sea still vext and wild 
Rose Sura, 207 Varun's maiden child. 

A fitting match she sought to find: 

But Diti's sons her love declined, 

05 Dhanvantari, the physician of the Gods. 

206 The poet plays upon the word and fancifully derives it from apsu, the 
locative case plural of ap, water, and rasa, taste.... The word is probably 
derived from ap, water, and sri, to go, and seems to signify inhabitants of 
the water, nymphs of the stream; or, as Goldstiicker thinks (Diet, s.v.) these 
divinities were originally personifications of the vapours which are attracted 
by the sun and form into mist or clouds. 

207 "Surd, in the feminine comprehends all sorts of intoxicating liquors, many 
kinds of which the Indians from the earliest times distilled and prepared from 
rice, sugar-cane, the palm tree, and various flowers and plants. Nothing is 
considered more disgraceful among orthodox Hindus than drunkenness, and 
the use of wine is forbidden not only to Brahmans but the two other orders 
as well.... So it clearly appears derogatory to the dignity of the Gods to have 
received a nymph so pernicious, who ought rather to have been made over to 
the Titans. However the etymological fancy has prevailed. The word Sura, a 
God, is derived from the indeclinable Swar heaven." SCHLEGEL{FNS. 

192 The Ramayana 

Their kinsmen of the rival brood 
To the pure maid in honour sued. 
Hence those who loved that nymph so fair 
The hallowed name of Suras bear. 
And Asurs are the Titan crowd 
Her gentle claims who disallowed. 
Then from the foamy sea was freed 
Uchchaihsravas, 208 the generous steed, 
And Kaustubha, of gems the gem, 209 
And Soma, Moon God, after them. 

At length when many a year had fled, 
Up floated, on her lotus bed, 
A maiden fair and tender-eyed, 
In the young flush of beauty's pride. 
She shone with pearl and golden sheen, 
And seals of glory stamped her queen, 
On each round arm glowed many a gem, 
On her smooth brows, a diadem. 
Rolling in waves beneath her crown 
The glory of her hair flowed down, 
Pearls on her neck of price untold, 
The lady shone like burnisht gold. 
Queen of the Gods, she leapt to land, 
A lotus in her perfect hand, 
And fondly, of the lotus-sprung, 
To lotus-bearing Vishnu clung. 

208 Literally, high-eared, the horse of Indra. Compare the production of the 
horse from the sea by Neptune. 


"And Kaustubha the best 

Of gems that burns with living light 

Upon Lord Vishnu's breast." 

Churning of the Ocean. 

Canto XLV. The Quest Of The Amrit. 193 

Her Gods above and men below 

As Beauty's Queen and Fortune know. 210 

Gods, Titans, and the minstrel train 

Still churned and wrought the troubled main. 

At length the prize so madly sought, 

The Amrit, to their sight was brought. 

For the rich spoil, 'twixt these and those 

A fratricidal war arose, 

And, host 'gainst host in battle, set, 

Aditi's sons and Diti's met. 

United, with the giants' aid, 

Their fierce attack the Titans made, 

And wildly raged for many a day 

That universe-astounding fray. 

When wearied arms were faint to strike, 

And ruin threatened all alike, 

Vishnu, with art's illusive aid, 

The Amrit from their sight conveyed. 

That Best of Beings smote his foes 

Who dared his deathless arm oppose: 

Yea, Vishnu, all-pervading God, 

Beneath his feet the Titans trod 

Aditi's race, the sons of light, 

slew Diti's brood in cruel fight. 

210 "That this story of the birth of Lakshmf is of considerable antiquity is 
evident from one of her names Kshirdbdhi-tanayd, daughter of the Milky Sea, 
which is found in Amarasinha the most ancient of Indian lexicographers. The 
similarity to the Greek myth of Venus being born from the foam of the sea is 

"In this description of Lakshmf one thing only offends me, that she is said 
to have four arms. Each of Vishnu's arms, single, as far as the elbow, there 
branches into two; but Lakshmf in all the brass seals that I possess or remember 
to have seen has two arms only. Nor does this deformity of redundant limbs suit 
the pattern of perfect beauty." SCHLEGEL{FNS. I have omitted the offensive 

194 The Ramayana 

Then town-destroying 211 Indra gained 
His empire, and in glory reigned 
O'er the three worlds with bard and sage 
Rejoicing in his heritage. 

Canto XLVI. Diti's Hope. 

But Diti, when her sons were slain, 
Wild with a childless mother's pain, 
To Kasyap spake, Maricha's son, 
[059] Her husband: "O thou glorious one! 

Dead are the children, mine no more, 
The mighty sons to thee I bore. 
Long fervour's meed, I crave a boy 
Whose arm may Indra's life destroy. 
The toil and pain my care shall be: 
To bless my hope depends on thee. 
Give me a mighty son to slay 
Fierce Indra, gracious lord! I pray." 

Canto XLVI. Diti's Hope. 195 

Then glorious Kasyap thus replied 
To Diti, as she wept and sighed: 
"Thy prayer is heard, dear saint! Remain 
Pure from all spot, and thou shalt gain 
A son whose arm shall take the life 
Of Indra in the battle strife. 
For full a thousand years endure 
Free from all stain, supremely pure; 
Then shall thy son and mine appear, 
Whom the three worlds shall serve with fear." 
These words the glorious Kasyap said, 
Then gently stroked his consort's head, 
Blessed her, and bade a kind adieu, 
And turned him to his rites anew. 
Soon as her lord had left her side, 
Her bosom swelled with joy and pride. 
She sought the shade of holy boughs, 
And there began her awful vows. 
While yet she wrought her rites austere, 
Indra, unbidden, hastened near, 
With sweet observance tending her, 
A reverential minister. 
Wood, water, fire, and grass he brought, 
Sweet roots and woodland fruit he sought, 
And all her wants, the Thousand-eyed, 
With never-failing care, supplied, 
With tender love and soft caress 
Removing pain and weariness. 

When, of the thousand years ordained, 
Ten only unfulfilled remained, 
Thus to her son, the Thousand-eyed, 
The Goddess in her triumph cried: 
"Best of the mighty ! there remain 

196 The Ramayana 

But ten short years of toil and pain; 
These years of penance soon will flee, 
And a new brother thou shalt see. 
Him for thy sake I'll nobly breed, 
And lust of war his soul shall feed; 
Then free from care and sorrow thou 
Shalt see the worlds before him bow." 212 

Canto XLVII. Sumati. 

Thus to Lord Indra, Thousand-eyed, 

Softly beseeching Diti sighed. 

When but a blighted bud was left, 

Which Indra's hand in seven had cleft: 213 

"No fault, O Lord of Gods, is thine; 

The blame herein is only mine. 

But for one grace I fain would pray, 

As thou hast reft this hope away. 

This bud, O Indra, which a blight 

Has withered ere it saw the light — 

From this may seven fair spirits rise 

To rule the regions of the skies. 

Be theirs through heaven's unbounded space 

212 A few verses are here left untranslated on account of the subject and 
language being offensive to modern taste. 

213 "In this myth of Indra destroying the unborn fruit of Diti with his thun- 
derbolt, from which afterwards came the Maruts or Gods of Wind and Storm, 
geological phenomena are, it seems, represented under mythical images. In 
the great Mother of the Gods is, perhaps, figured the dry earth: Indra the God 
of thunder rends it open, and there issue from its rent bosom the Maruts or 
exhalations of the earth. But such ancient myths are difficult to interpret with 
absolute certainty." GORRESIOJFNS. 

Canto XLVII. Sumati. 197 

On shoulders of the winds to race, 
My children, drest in heavenly forms, 
Far-famed as Maruts, Gods of storms. 
One God to Brahma's sphere assign, 
Let one, O Indra, watch o'er thine; 
And ranging through the lower air, 
The third the name of Vayu 214 bear. 
Gods let the four remaining be, 
And roam through space, obeying thee." 

The Town-destroyer, Thousand-eyed, 
Who smote fierce Bali till he died, 
Joined suppliant hands, and thus replied: 
"Thy children heavenly forms shall wear; 
The names devised by thee shall bear, 
And, Maruts called by my decree, 
Shall Amrit drink and wait on me. 
From fear and age and sickness freed, 
Through the three worlds their wings shall speed." 

Thus in the hermits' holy shade 
Mother and son their compact made, 
And then, as fame relates, content, 
Home to the happy skies they went. 
This is the spot — so men have told — 
Where Lord Mahendra 215 dwelt of old, 
This is the blessed region where 
His votaress mother claimed his care. 
Here gentle Alambusha bare 
To old Ikshvaku, king and sage, 
Visala, glory of his age, 
By whom, a monarch void of guilt, 
Was this fair town Visala built. [060] 

215 Indra, with mahd, great, prefixed. 

198 The Ramayana 

His son was Hemachandra, still 
Renowned for might and warlike skill. 
From him the great Suchandra came; 
His son, Dhumrasva, dear to fame. 
Next followed royal Srinjay; then 
Famed Sahadeva, lord of men. 
Next came Kusasva, good and mild, 
Whose son was Somadatta styled, 
And Sumati, his heir, the peer 
Of Gods above, now governs here. 
And ever through Ikshvaku's grace, 
Visala's kings, his noble race, 
Are lofty-souled, and blest with length 
Of days, with virtue, and with strength. 
This night, O prince, we here will sleep; 
And when the day begins to peep, 
Our onward way will take with thee, 
The king of Mithila to see." 

Then Sumati, the king, aware 
Of Visvamitra's advent there, 
Came quickly forth with honour meet 
The lofty-minded sage to greet. 
Girt with his priest and lords the king 
Did low obeisance, worshipping, 
With suppliant hands, with head inclined, 
Thus spoke he after question kind; 
"Since thou hast deigned to bless my sight, 

And grace awhile thy servant's seat, 
High fate is mine, great Anchorite, 

And none may with my bliss compete." 

Canto XLVIII. Indra And Ahalya 199 

Canto XLVIII. Indra And Ahalya 

When mutual courtesies had past, 
Visala's ruler spoke at last: 
"These princely youths, O Sage, who vie 
In might with children of the sky, 
Heroic, born for happy fate, 
With elephants' or lions' gait, 
Bold as the tiger or the bull, 
With lotus eyes so large and full, 
Armed with the quiver, sword, and bow, 
Whose figures like the Asvins 216 show, 
Like children of the deathless Powers, 
Come freely to these shades of ours, 217 — 
How have they reached on foot this place? 
What do they seek, and what their race? 
As sun and moon adorn the sky, 
This spot the heroes glorify. 
Alike in stature, port, and mien, 
The same fair form in each is seen," 

He spoke; and at the monarch's call 
The best of hermits told him all, 
How in the grove with him they dwelt, 
And slaughter to the demons dealt. 
Then wonder filled the monarch's breast, 
Who tended well each royal guest. 
Thus entertained, the princely pair 
Remained that night and rested there, 
And with the morn's returning ray 
To Mithila pursued their way. 

216 The Heavenly Twins. 

Not banished from heaven as the inferior Gods and demigods sometimes 

200 The Ramayana 

When Janak's lovely city first 
Upon their sight, yet distant, burst, 
The hermits all with joyful cries 
Hailed the fair town that met their eyes. 
Then Rama saw a holy wood, 
Close, in the city's neighbourhood, 
O'ergrown, deserted, marked by age, 
And thus addressed the mighty sage: 
"O reverend lord. I long to know 
What hermit dwelt here long ago." 
Then to the prince his holy guide, 
Most eloquent of men, replied: 
"O Rama, listen while I tell 
Whose was this grove, and what befell 
When in the fury of his rage 
The high saint cursed the hermitage. 
This was the grove — most lovely then — 
Of Gautam, O thou best of men, 
Like heaven itself, most honoured by 
The Gods who dwell above the sky. 
Here with Ahalya at his side 
His fervid task the ascetic plied. 
Years fled in thousands. On a day 
It chanced the saint had gone away, 
When Town-destroying Indra came, 
And saw the beauty of the dame. 
The sage's form the God endued, 
And thus the fair Ahalya wooed: 
"Love, sweet! should brook no dull delay 
But snatch the moments when he may." 
She knew him in the saint's disguise, 
Lord Indra of the Thousand Eyes, 
But touched by love's unholy fire, 
She yielded to the God's desire. 

Canto XLVIII. Indra And Ahalya 20 1 

"Now, Lord of Gods!" she whispered, "flee, 
From Gautam save thyself and me." 
Trembling with doubt and wild with dread 
Lord Indra from the cottage fled; 
But fleeing in the grove he met 
The home-returning anchoret, 
Whose wrath the Gods and fiends would shun, 
Such power his fervent rites had won. 
Fresh from the lustral flood he came, 
In splendour like the burning flame, 
With fuel for his sacred rites, 
And grass, the best of eremites. 
The Lord of Gods was sad of cheer 
To see the mighty saint so near, 
And when the holy hermit spied 

In hermit's garb the Thousand-eyed, [061] 

He knew the whole, his fury broke 
Forth on the sinner as he spoke: 

"Because my form thou hast assumed, 
And wrought this folly, thou art doomed, 
For this my curse to thee shall cling, 
Henceforth a sad and sexless thing." 

No empty threat that sentence came, 
It chilled his soul and marred his frame, 
His might and godlike vigour fled, 
And every nerve was cold and dead. 

Then on his wife his fury burst, 
And thus the guilty dame he cursed: 
"For countless years, disloyal spouse, 
Devoted to severest vows, 
Thy bed the ashes, air thy food, 
Here shalt thou live in solitude. 

202 The Ramayana 

This lonely grove thy home shall be, 

And not an eye thy form shall see. 

When Rama, Dasaratha's child, 

Shall seek these shades then drear and wild, 

His coming shall remove thy stain, 

And make the sinner pure again. 

Due honour paid to him, thy guest, 

Shall cleanse thy fond and erring breast, 

Thee to my side in bliss restore, 

And give thy proper shape once more." 218 

Thus to his guilty wife he said, 
Then far the holy Gautam fled, 
And on Himalaya's lovely heights 
Spent the long years in sternest rites." 

Canto XLIX. Ahalya Freed. 

Then Rama, following still his guide, 
Within the grove, with Lakshman, hied, 
Her vows a wondrous light had lent 
To that illustrious penitent. 
He saw the glorious lady, screened 
From eye of man, and God, and fiend, 
Like some bright portent which the care 

218 Kumarila says: "In the same manner, if it is said that Indra was the seducer 
of Ahalya this does not imply that the God Indra committed such a crime, 
but Indra means the sun, and Ahalya (from ahan and li) the night; and as the 
night is seduced and ruined by the sun of the morning, therefore is Indra called 
the paramour of Ahalya." MAX MULLER{FNS, History of Ancient Sanskrit 
Literature, p. 530. 

Canto XLIX. Ahalya Freed. 203 

Of Brahma launches through the air, 
Designed by his illusive art 
To flash a moment and depart: 
Or like the flame that leaps on high 
To sink involved in smoke and die: 
Or like the full moon shining through 
The wintry mist, then lost to view: 
Or like the sun's reflection, cast 
Upon the flood, too bright to last: 
So was the glorious dame till then 
Removed from Gods' and mortals' ken, 
Till — such was Gautam's high decree — 
Prince Rama came to set her free. 

Then, with great joy that dame to meet, 
The sons of Raghu clapped her feet; 
And she, remembering Gautam's oath, 
With gentle grace received them both; 
Then water for their feet she gave, 
Guest-gift, and all that strangers crave. 

The prince, of courteous rule aware, 
Received, as meet, the lady's care. 
Then flowers came down in copious rain, 
And moving to the heavenly strain 
Of music in the skies that rang, 
The nymphs and minstrels danced and sang: 
And all the Gods with one glad voice 
Praised the great dame, and cried, "Rejoice! 
Through fervid rites no more defiled, 
But with thy husband reconciled." 
Gautam, the holy hermit knew — 
For naught escaped his godlike view — 
That Rama lodged beneath that shade, 

204 The Ramayana 

And hasting there his homage paid. 
He took Ahalya to his side, 
From sin and folly purified, 
And let his new-found consort bear 
In his austerities a share. 

Then Rama, pride of Raghu's race, 
Welcomed by Gautam, face to face, 
Who every highest honour showed, 
To Mithila pursued his road. 

Canto L. Janak. 

The sons of Raghu journeyed forth, 
Bending their steps 'twixt east and north. 
Soon, guided by the sage, they found, 
Enclosed, a sacrificial ground. 
Then to the best of saints, his guide, 
In admiration Rama cried: 

"The high-souled king no toil has spared, 
But nobly for his rite prepared, 
How many thousand Brahmans here, 
From every region, far and near, 
Well read in holy lore, appear! 
How many tents, that sages screen, 
With wains in hundreds, here are seen! 
Great Brahman, let us find a place 
Where we may stay and rest a space." 
The hermit did as Rama prayed, 
[062] And in a spot his lodging made, 

Far from the crowd, sequestered, clear, 
With copious water flowing near. 

Canto L. Janak. 205 

Then Janak, best of kings, aware 
Of Visvamitra lodging there, 
With Satananda for his guide — 
The priest on whom he most relied, 
His chaplain void of guile and stain — 
And others of his priestly train, 
Bearing the gift that greets the guest, 
To meet him with all honour pressed. 
The saint received with gladsome mind 
Each honour and observance kind: 
Then of his health he asked the king, 
And how his rites were prospering, 
Janak, with chaplain and with priest, 
Addressed the hermits, chief and least, 
Accosting all, in due degree, 
With proper words of courtesy. 
Then, with his palms together laid, 
The king his supplication made: 
"Deign, reverend lord, to sit thee down 
With these good saints of high renown." 
Then sate the chief of hermits there, 
Obedient to the monarch's prayer. 
Chaplain and priest, and king and peer, 
Sate in their order, far or near. 
Then thus the king began to say: 
"The Gods have blest my rite to-day, 
And with the sight of thee repaid 
The preparations I have made. 
Grateful am I, so highly blest, 
That thou, of saints the holiest, 
Hast come, O Brahman, here with all 
These hermits to the festival. 
Twelve days, O Brahman Sage, remain — 
For so the learned priests ordain — 

206 The Ramayana 

And then, O heir of Kusik's name, 

The Gods will come their dues to claim." 

With looks that testified delight 
Thus spake he to the anchorite, 
Then with his suppliant hands upraised, 
He asked, as earnestly he gazed: 
"These princely youths, O Sage, who vie 
In might with children of the sky, 
Heroic, born for happy fate, 
With elephants' or lions' gait, 
Bold as the tiger and the bull, 
With lotus eyes so large and full, 
Armed with the quiver, sword and bow, 
Whose figures like the Asvins show, 
Like children of the heavenly Powers, 
Come freely to these shades of ours, — 
How have they reached on foot this place? 
What do they seek, and what their race? 
As sun and moon adorn the sky, 
This spot the heroes glorify: 
Alike in stature, port, and mien, 
The same fair form in each is seen." 

Thus spoke the monarch, lofty-souled, 
The saint, of heart unfathomed, told 
How, sons of Dasaratha, they 
Accompanied his homeward way, 
How in the hermitage they dwelt, 
And slaughter to the demons dealt: 
Their journey till the spot they neared 

219 "The preceding sixteen lines have occurred before in Canto XL VIII. This 
Homeric custom of repeating a passage of several lines is strange to our poet. 
This is the only instance I remember. The repetition of single lines is common 
enough." SCHLEGEL{FNS. 

Canto LI. Visvamitra. 207 

Whence fair Visala's towers appeared: 
Ahalya seen and freed from taint; 
Their meeting with her lord the saint; 
And how they thither came, to know 
The virtue of the famous bow. 

Thus Visvamitra spoke the whole 
To royal Janak, great of soul, 
And when this wondrous tale was o'er, 
The glorious hermit said no more. 

Canto LI. Visvamitra. 

Wise Visvamitra's tale was done: 
Then sainted Gautam's eldest son, 
Great Satananda, far-renowned, 
Whom long austerities had crowned 
With glory — as the news he heard 
The down upon his body stirred, — 
Filled full of wonder at the sight 
Of Rama, felt supreme delight. 
When Satananda saw the pair 
Of youthful princes seated there, 
He turned him to the holy man 
Who sate at ease, and thus began: 
"And didst thou, mighty Sage, in truth 
Show clearly to this royal youth 
My mother, glorious far and wide, 
Whom penance-rites have sanctified? 
And did my glorious mother — she, 
Heiress of noble destiny — 

208 The Ramayana 

Serve her great guest with woodland store, 
Whom all should honour evermore? 
Didst thou the tale to Rama tell 
Of what in ancient days befell, 
The sin, the misery, and the shame 
Of guilty God and faithless dame? 
And, O thou best of hermits, say, 
Did Rama's healing presence stay 
Her trial? was the wife restored 
Again to him, my sire and lord? 
Say, Hermit, did that sire of mine 
Receive her with a soul benign, 
When long austerities in time 
[063] Had cleansed her from the taint of crime? 

And, son of Kusik, let me know, 
Did my great-minded father show 
Honour to Rama, and regard, 
Before he journeyed hitherward?" 
The hermit with attentive ear 
Marked all the questions of the seer: 
To him for eloquence far-famed, 
His eloquent reply he framed: 
"Yea, 'twas my care no task to shun, 
And all I had to do was done; 
As Renuka and Bhrigu's child, 
The saint and dame were reconciled." 

When the great sage had thus replied, 
To Rama Satananda cried: 
"A welcome visit, Prince, is thine, 
Thou scion of King Raghu's line. 
With him to guide thy way aright, 
This sage invincible in might, 
This Brahman sage, most glorious-bright, 

Canto LI. Visvamitra. 209 

By long austerities has wrought 
A wondrous deed, exceeding thought: 
Thou knowest well, O strong of arm, 
This sure defence from scathe and harm. 
None, Rama, none is living now 
In all the earth more blest than thou, 
That thou hast won a saint so tried 
In fervid rites thy life to guide. 
Now listen, Prince, while I relate 
His lofty deeds and wondrous fate. 
He was a monarch pious-souled. 
His foemen in the dust he rolled; 
Most learned, prompt at duty's claim, 
His people's good his joy and aim. 

Of old the Lord of Life gave birth 
To mighty Kusa, king of earth. 
His son was Kusanabha, strong, 
Friend of the right, the foe of wrong. 
Gadhi, whose fame no time shall dim, 
Heir of his throne was born to him, 
And Visvamitra, Gadhi's heir, 
Governed the land with kingly care. 
While years unnumbered rolled away 
The monarch reigned with equal sway. 
At length, assembling many a band, 
He led his warriors round the land — 
Complete in tale, a mighty force, 
Cars, elephants, and foot, and horse. 
Through cities, groves, and floods he passed, 
O'er lofty hills, through regions vast. 
He reached Vasishtha's pure abode, 
Where trees, and flowers, and creepers glowed, 
Where troops of sylvan creatures fed; 

210 The Ramayana 

Which saints and angels visited. 

Gods, fauns, and bards of heavenly race, 

And spirits, glorified the place; 

The deer their timid ways forgot, 

And holy Brahmans thronged the spot. 

Bright in their souls, like fire, were these, 

Made pure by long austerities, 

Bound by the rule of vows severe, 

And each in glory Brahma's peer. 

Some fed on water, some on air, 

Some on the leaves that withered there. 

Roots and wild fruit were others' food; 

All rage was checked, each sense subdued, 

There Balakhilyas 220 went and came, 

Now breathed the prayer, now fed the flame: 

These, and ascetic bands beside, 

The sweet retirement beautified. 

Such was Vasishtha's blest retreat, 

Like Brahma's own celestial seat, 

Which gladdened Visvamitra's eyes, 

Peerless for warlike enterprise. 

Canto LII. Vasishtha's Feast. 

220 Divine personages of minute size produced from the hair of Brahma, and 
probably the origin of 

"That small infantry 
Warred on by cranes." 

Canto LII. Vasishtha's Feast. 21 1 

Right glad was Visvamitra when 
He saw the prince of saintly men. 
Low at his feet the hero bent, 
And did obeisance, reverent. 

The king was welcomed in, and shown 
A seat beside the hermit's own, 
Who offered him, when resting there, 
Fruit in due course, and woodland fare. 
And Visvamitra, noblest king, 
Received Vasishtha's welcoming, 
Turned to his host, and prayed him tell 
That he and all with him were well. 
Vasishtha to the king replied 
That all was well on every side, 
That fire, and vows, and pupils throve, 
And all the trees within the grove. 
And then the son of Brahma, best 
Of all who pray with voice suppressed, 
Questioned with pleasant words like these 
The mighty king who sate at ease: 
"And is it well with thee? I pray; 
And dost thou win by virtuous sway 
Thy people's love, discharging all 
The duties on a king that fall? 
Are all thy servants fostered well? 
Do all obey, and none rebel? 
Hast thou, destroyer of the foe, 
No enemies to overthrow? 
Does fortune, conqueror! still attend 
Thy treasure, host, and every friend? 
Is it all well? Does happy fate 
On sons and children's children wait?" 


212 The Ramayana 

He spoke. The modest king replied 
That all was prosperous far and wide. 

Thus for awhile the two conversed, 
As each to each his tale rehearsed, 
And as the happy moments flew, 
Their joy and friendship stronger grew. 
When such discourse had reached an end, 
Thus spoke the saint most reverend 
To royal Visvamitra, while 
His features brightened with a smile: 
"O mighty lord of men. I fain 
Would banquet thee and all thy train 
In mode that suits thy station high: 
And do not thou my prayer deny. 
Let my good lord with favour take 
The offering that I fain would make, 
And let me honour, ere we part, 
My royal guest with loving heart." 

Him Visvamitra thus addressed: 
"Why make, O Saint, this new request? 
Thy welcome and each gracious word 
Sufficient honour have conferred. 
Thou gavest roots and fruit to eat, 
The treasures of this pure retreat, 
And water for my mouth and feet; 
And — boon I prize above the rest — 
Thy presence has mine eyesight blest. 
Honoured by thee in every way, 
To whom all honour all should pay, 
I now will go. My lord, Good-bye! 
Regard me with a friendly eye." 

Canto LIII. Visvamitra's Request. 213 

Him speaking thus Vasishtha stayed, 
And still to share his banquet prayed. 
The will of Gadhi's son he bent, 
And won the monarch to consent, 
Who spoke in answer. "Let it be, 
Great Hermit, as it pleases thee." 
When, best of those who breathe the prayer, 
He heard the king his will declare, 
He called the cow of spotted skin, 
All spot without, all pure within. 
"Come, Dapple-skin," he cried, "with speed; 
Hear thou my words and help at need. 
My heart is set to entertain 
This monarch and his mighty train 
With sumptuous meal and worthy fare; 
Be thine the banquet to prepare. 
Each dainty cate, each goodly dish, 
Of six-fold taste 221 as each may wish — 
All these, O cow of heavenly power, 
Rain down for me in copious shower: 
Viands and drink for tooth and lip, 
To eat, to suck, to quaff, to sip — 
Of these sufficient, and to spare, 
O plenty-giving cow, prepare." 

Canto LIII. Visvamitra's Request. 

221 Sweet, salt, pungent, bitter, acid, and astringent. 

214 The Ramayana 

Thus charged, O slayer of thy foes, 
The cow from whom all plenty flows, 
Obedient to her saintly lord, 
Viands to suit each taste, outpoured. 
Honey she gave, and roasted grain, 
Mead sweet with flowers, and sugar-cane. 
Each beverage of flavour rare, 
An food of every sort, were there: 
Hills of hot rice, and sweetened cakes, 
And curdled milk and soup in lakes. 
Vast beakers foaming to the brim 
With sugared drink prepared for him, 
And dainty sweetmeats, deftly made, 
Before the hermit's guests were laid. 
So well regaled, so nobly fed, 
The mighty army banqueted, 
And all the train, from chief to least, 
Delighted in Vasishtha's feast. 
Then Visvamitra, royal sage, 
Surrounded by his vassalage, 
Prince, peer, and counsellor, and all 
From highest lord to lowest thrall, 
Thus feasted, to Vasishtha cried 
With joy, supremely gratified: 
"Rich honour I, thus entertained, 
Most honourable lord, have gained: 
Now hear, before I journey hence, 
My words, O skilled in eloquence. 
Bought for a hundred thousand kine, 
Let Dapple-skin, O Saint, be mine. 
A wondrous jewel is thy cow, 
And gems are for the monarch's brow. 222 

222 "Of old hoards and minerals in the earth, the king is entitled to half by 
reason of his general protection, and because he is the lord paramount of the 

Canto LIII. Visvamitra's Request. 215 

To me her rightful lord resign 

This Dapple-skin thou callest thine." 

The great Vasishtha, thus addressed, 
Arch-hermit of the holy breast, 
To Visvamitra answer made, 
The king whom all the land obeyed: 
"Not for a hundred thousand, — nay, 
Not if ten million thou wouldst pay, 
With silver heaps the price to swell, — 
Will I my cow, O Monarch, sell. 
Unmeet for her is such a fate. 
That I my friend should alienate. 
As glory with the virtuous, she 
For ever makes her home with me. 
On her mine offerings which ascend 
To Gods and spirits all depend: 
My very life is due to her, 

My guardian, friend, and minister. [065] 

The feeding of the sacred flame, 223 
The dole which living creatures claim. 224 . 
The mighty sacrifice by fire, 
Each formula the rites require, 225 
And various saving lore beside, 
Are by her aid, in sooth, supplied. 
The banquet which thy host has shared, 

soil." MANU{FNS, Book VIII. 39. 

223 Ghf or clarified butter, "holy oil," being one of the essentials of sacrifice. 

224 "A Brahman had five principal duties to discharge every day: study and 
teaching the Veda, oblations to the manes or spirits of the departed, sacrifice to 
the Gods, hospitable offerings to men, and a gift of food to all creatures. The 
last consisted of rice or other grain which the Brahman was to offer every day 
outside his house in the open air. MANU{FNS, Book III. 70." GORRESIO{FNS 

225 These were certain sacred words of invocation such a svdhd, vashat, etc., 
pronounced at the time of sacrifice. 

216 The Ramayana 

Believe it, was by her prepared, 

In her mine only treasures lie, 

She cheers mine heart and charms mine eye. 

And reasons more could I assign 

Why Dapple-skin can ne'er be thine." 

The royal sage, his suit denied, 
With eloquence more earnest cried: 
"Tusked elephants, a goodly train, 
Each with a golden girth and chain, 
Whose goads with gold well fashioned shine- 
Of these be twice seven thousand thine. 
And four-horse cars with gold made bright, 
With steeds most beautifully white, 
Whose bells make music as they go, 
Eight hundred, Saint, will I bestow. 
Eleven thousand mettled steeds 
From famous lands, of noble breeds — 
These will I gladly give, O thou 
Devoted to each holy vow. 
Ten million heifers, fair to view, 
Whose sides are marked with every hue — 
These in exchange will I assign; 
But let thy Dapple-skin be mine. 
Ask what thou wilt, and piles untold 
Of priceless gems and gleaming gold, 
O best of Brahmans, shall be thine; 
But let thy Dapple-skin be mine." 

Canto LIV. The Battle. 217 

The great Vasishtha, thus addressed, 
Made answer to the king's request: 
"Ne'er will I give my cow away, 
My gem, my wealth, my life and stay. 
My worship at the moon's first show, 
And at the full, to her I owe; 
And sacrifices small and great, 
Which largess due and gifts await. 
From her alone, their root, O King, 
My rites and holy service spring. 
What boots it further words to say? 
I will not give my cow away 
Who yields me what I ask each day." 

Canto LIV. The Battle. 

As Saint Vasishtha answered so, 
Nor let the cow of plenty go, 
The monarch, as a last resource, 
Began to drag her off by force. 
While the king's servants tore away 
Their moaning, miserable prey, 
Sad, sick at heart, and sore distressed, 
She pondered thus within her breast: 
"Why am I thus forsaken? why 
Betrayed by him of soul most high. 
Vasishtha, ravished by the hands 
Of soldiers of the monarch's bands? 
Ah me! what evil have I done 
Against the lofty-minded one, 
That he, so pious, can expose 

218 The Ramayana 

The innocent whose love he knows?" 
In her sad breast as thus she thought, 
And heaved deep sighs with anguish fraught, 
With wondrous speed away she fled, 
And back to Saint Vasishtha sped. 
She hurled by hundreds to the ground 
The menial crew that hemmed her round, 
And flying swifter than the blast 
Before the saint herself she cast. 
There Dapple-skin before the saint 
Stood moaning forth her sad complaint, 
And wept and lowed: such tones as come 
From wandering cloud or distant drum. 
"O son of Brahma," thus cried she, 
"Why hast thou thus forsaken me, 
That the king's men, before thy face, 
Bear off thy servant from her place?" 

Then thus the Brahman saint replied 
To her whose heart with woe was tried, 
And grieving for his favourite's sake, 
As to a suffering sister spake: 
"I leave thee not: dismiss the thought; 
Nor, duteous, hast thou failed in aught. 
This king, o'erweening in the pride 
Of power, has reft thee from my side. 
Little, I ween, my strength could do 
'Gainst him, a mighty warrior too. 
Strong, as a soldier born and bred, — 
Great, as a king whom regions dread. 
See! what a host the conqueror leads, 
With elephants, and cars, and steeds. 
O'er countless bands his pennons fly; 
[066] So is he mightier far than I." 

Canto LIV. The Battle. 219 

He spoke. Then she, in lowly mood, 

To that high saint her speech renewed: 

"So judge not they who wisest are: 

The Brahman's might is mightier far. 

For Brahmans strength from Heaven derive, 

And warriors bow when Brahmans strive. 

A boundless power 'tis thine to wield: 

To such a king thou shouldst not yield, 

Who, very mighty though he be, — 

So fierce thy strength, — must bow to thee. 

Command me, Saint. Thy power divine 

Has brought me here and made me thine; 

And I, howe'er the tyrant boast, 

Will tame his pride and slay his host." 

Then cried the glorious sage: "Create 

A mighty force the foe to mate." 

She lowed, and quickened into life, 
Pahlavas, 226 burning for the strife, 
King Visvamitra's army slew 
Before the very leader's view. 
The monarch in excessive ire, 
His eyes with fury darting fire, 
Rained every missile on the foe 
Till all the Pahlavas were low. 

226 "It is well known that the Persians were called Pahlavas by the Indians. 
The Sakas are nomad tribes inhabiting Central Asia, the Scythes of the Greeks, 
whom the Persians also, as Herodotus tells us, called Sakae just as the Indians 
did. Lib. VII 64 6i yap Uipaai jravrac, roue, Eu9ac,. KaAeouoi laxac,. The name 
Yavans seems to be used rather indefinitely for nations situated beyond Persia 
to the west. . . . After the time of Alexander the Great the Indians as well as the 
Persians called the Greeks also Yavans." SCHLEGEL{FNS. 

Lassen thinks that the Pahlavas were the same people as the ndKruec, of 
Herodotus, and that this non-Indian people dwelt on the north-west confines of 

220 The Ramayana 

She, seeing all her champions slain, 
Lying by thousands on the plain. 
Created, by her mere desire, 
Yavans and Sakas, fierce and dire. 
And all the ground was overspread 
With Yavans and with Sakas dread: 
A host of warriors bright and strong, 
And numberless in closest throng: 
The threads within the lotus stem, 
So densely packed, might equal them. 
In gold-hued mail 'against war's attacks, 
Each bore a sword and battle-axe, 
The royal host, where'er these came, 
Fell as if burnt with ravening flame. 

The monarch, famous through the world 
Again his fearful weapons hurled, 
That made Kambojas, 227 Barbars, 228 all, 
With Yavans, troubled, flee and fall. 

Canto LV. The Hermitage Burnt. 

So o'er the field that host lay strown, 
By Visvamitra's darts o'erthrown. 
Then thus Vasishtha charged the cow: 
"Create with all thy vigour now." 

27 See page 13, note 6. 

228 Barbarians, non-Sanskrit-speaking tribes. 

Canto LV. The Hermitage Burnt. 221 

Forth sprang Kambojas, as she lowed; 
Bright as the sun their faces glowed, 
Forth from her udder Barbars poured, — 
Soldiers who brandished spear and sword, — 
And Yavans with their shafts and darts, 
And Sakas from her hinder parts. 
And every pore upon her fell, 
And every hair-producing cell, 
With Mlechchhas 229 and Kiratas 230 teemed, 
And forth with them Haritas streamed. 
And Visvamitra's mighty force, 
Car, elephant, and foot, and horse, 
Fell in a moment's time, subdued 
By that tremendous multitude. 
The monarch's hundred sons, whose eyes 
Beheld the rout in wild surprise, 
Armed with all weapons, mad with rage, 
Rushed fiercely on the holy sage. 
One cry he raised, one glance he shot, 
And all fell scorched upon the spot: 
Burnt by the sage to ashes, they 
With horse, and foot, and chariot, lay. 
The monarch mourned, with shame and pain, 
His army lost, his children slain, 
Like Ocean when his roar is hushed, 
Or some great snake whose fangs are crushed: [067] 

229 A comprehensive term for foreign or outcast races of different faith and 
language from the Hindus. 

230 The Kiratas and Haritas are savage aborigines of India who occupy hills 
and jungles and are altogether different in race and character from the Hindus. 
Dr. Muir remarks in his Sanskrit Texts, Vol. I. p. 488 (second edition) that it 
does not appear that it is the object of this legend to represent this miraculous 
creation as the origin of these tribes, and that nothing more may have been 
intended than that the cow called into existence large armies, of the same stock 
with particular tribes previously existing. 

222 The Ramayana 

Or as in swift eclipse the Sun 

Dark with the doom he cannot shun: 

Or a poor bird with mangled wing — 

So, reft of sons and host, the king 

No longer, by ambition fired, 

The pride of war his breast inspired. 

He gave his empire to his son — 

Of all he had, the only one: 

And bade him rule as kings are taught 

Then straight a hermit-grove he sought. 

Far to Himalaya's side he fled, 

Which bards and Nagas visited, 

And, Mahadeva's 231 grace to earn, 

He gave his life to penance stern. 

A lengthened season thus passed by, 

When Siva's self, the Lord most High, 

Whose banner shows the pictured bull, 232 

Appeared, the God most bountiful: 

"Why fervent thus in toil and pain? 
What brings thee here? what boon to gain? 
Thy heart's desire, O Monarch, speak: 
I grant the boons which mortals seek." 
The king, his adoration paid, 
To Mahadeva answer made: 
"If thou hast deemed me fit to win 
Thy favour, O thou void of sin, 
On me, O mighty God, bestow 
The wondrous science of the bow, 
All mine, complete in every part, 
With secret spell and mystic art. 
To me be all the arms revealed 

231 The Great God, Siva. 

232 Nandi, the snow-white bull, the attendant and favourite vehicle of Siva. 

Canto LV. The Hermitage Burnt. 223 

That Gods, and saints, and Titans wield, 
And every dart that arms the hands 
Of spirits, fiends and minstrel bands, 
Be mine, O Lord supreme in place, 
This token of thy boundless grace." 

The Lord of Gods then gave consent, 
And to his heavenly mansion went. 
Triumphant in the arms he held, 
The monarch's breast with glory swelled. 
So swells the ocean, when upon 
His breast the full moon's beams have shone. 
Already in his mind he viewed 
Vasishtha at his feet subdued. 
He sought that hermit's grove, and there 
Launched his dire weapons through the air, 
Till scorched by might that none could stay 
The hermitage in ashes lay. 
Where'er the inmates saw, aghast, 
The dart that Visvamitra cast, 
To every side they turned and fled 
In hundreds forth disquieted. 
Vasishtha's pupils caught the fear, 
And every bird and every deer, 
And fled in wild confusion forth 
Eastward and westward, south and north, 
And so Vasishtha's holy shade 
A solitary wild was made, 
Silent awhile, for not a sound 
Disturbed the hush that was around. 

224 The Ramayana 

Vasishtha then, with eager cry, 
Called, "Fear not, friends, nor seek to fly. 
This son of Gadhi dies to-day, 
Like hoar-frost in the morning's ray." 
Thus having said, the glorious sage 
Spoke to the king in words of rage: 
"Because thou hast destroyed this grove 
Which long in holy quiet throve, 
By folly urged to senseless crime, 
Now shalt thou die before thy time." 

Canto LVI. Visvamitra's Vow. 

But Visvamitra, at the threat 
Of that illustrious anchoret, 
Cried, as he launched with ready hand 
A fiery weapon, "Stand, O Stand!" 
Vasishtha, wild with rage and hate, 
Raising, as 'twere the Rod of Fate, 
His mighty Brahman wand on high, 
To Visvamitra made reply: 
"Nay, stand, O Warrior thou, and show 
What soldier can, 'gainst Brahman foe. 
O Gadhi's son, thy days are told; 
Thy pride is tamed, thy dart is cold. 
How shall a warrior's puissance dare 
With Brahman's awful strength compare? 
To-day, base Warrior, shall thou feel 
That God-sent might is more than steel." 
He raised his Brahman staff, nor missed 
The fiery dart that near him hissed: 

Canto LVI. Visvamitra's Vow. 225 

And quenched the fearful weapon fell, 
As flame beneath the billow's swell. 

Then Gadhi's son in fury threw 
Lord Varun's arm and Rudra's too: 
Indra's fierce bolt that all destroys; 
That which the Lord of Herds employs: 
The Human, that which minstrels keep, 
The deadly Lure, the endless Sleep: 
The Yawner, and the dart which charms; 
Lament and Torture, fearful arms: 
The Terrible, the dart which dries, 
The Thunderbolt which quenchless flies, 
And Fate's dread net, and Brahma's noose, 
And that which waits for Varun's use: 
The dart he loves who wields the bow 
Pinaka, and twin bolts that glow 
With fury as they flash and fly, 
The quenchless Liquid and the Dry: 
The dart of Vengeance, swift to kill: 

The Goblins' dart, the Curlew's Bill: [068] 

The discus both of Fate and Right, 
And Vishnu's, of unerring flight: 
The Wind-God's dart, the Troubler dread, 
The weapon named the Horse's Head. 
From his fierce hand two spears were thrown, 
And the great mace that smashes bone; 
The dart of spirits of the air, 
And that which Fate exults to bear: 
The Trident dart which slaughters foes, 
And that which hanging skulls compose: 233 

233 "The names of many of these weapons which are mythical and partly alle- 
gorical have occurred in Canto XXIX. The general signification of the story is 
clear enough. It is a contest for supremacy between the regal or military order 

226 The Ramayana 

These fearful darts in fiery rain 

He hurled upon the saint amain, 

An awful miracle to view. 

But as the ceaseless tempest flew, 

The sage with wand of God-sent power 

Still swallowed up that fiery shower. 

Then Gadhi's son, when these had failed, 
With Brahma's dart his foe assailed. 
The Gods, with Indra at their head, 
And Nagas, quailed disquieted, 
And saints and minstrels, when they saw 
The king that awful weapon draw; 
And the three worlds were filled with dread, 
And trembled as the missile sped. 

The saint, with Brahman wand, empowered 
By lore divine that dart devoured. 
Nor could the triple world withdraw 
Rapt gazes from that sight of awe; 
For as he swallowed down the dart 
Of Brahma, sparks from every part, 
From finest pore and hair-cell, broke 
Enveloped in a veil of smoke. 
The staff he waved was all aglow 
Like Yama's sceptre, King below, 
Or like the lurid fire of Fate 
Whose rage the worlds will desolate. 

and Brahmanical or priestly authority, like one of those struggles which our 
own Europe saw in the middle ages when without employing warlike weapons 
the priesthood frequently gained the victory." SCHLEGEL{FNS. 

For a full account of the early contests between the Brahmans and the 
Kshattriyas, see Muir's Original Sanskrit Texts (Second edition) Vol. I. Ch. 

Canto LVII. Trisanku. 227 

The hermits, whom that sight had awed, 
Extolled the saint, with hymn and laud: 
"Thy power, O Sage, is ne'er in vain: 
Now with thy might thy might restrain. 
Be gracious, Master, and allow 
The worlds to rest from trouble now; 
For Visvamitra, strong and dread, 
By thee has been discomfited." 

Then, thus addressed, the saint, well pleased, 
The fury of his wrath appeased. 
The king, o'erpowered and ashamed, 
With many a deep-drawn sigh exclaimed: 
"Ah! Warriors' strength is poor and slight; 
A Brahman's power is truly might. 
This Brahman staff the hermit held 
The fury of my darts has quelled. 
This truth within my heart impressed, 
With senses ruled and tranquil breast 
My task austere will I begin, 
And Brahmanhood will strive to win." 

Canto LVII. Trisanku. 

Then with his heart consumed with woe, 
Still brooding on his overthrow 
By the great saint he had defied, 
At every breath the monarch sighed. 
Forth from his home his queen he led, 
And to a land far southward fled. 
There, fruit and roots his only food, 

228 The Ramayana 

He practised penance, sense-subdued, 
And in that solitary spot 
Four virtuous sons the king begot: 
Havishyand, from the offering named, 
And Madhushyand, for sweetness famed, 
Maharath, chariot-borne in fight, 
And Dridhanetra strong of sight. 

A thousand years had passed away, 
When Brahma, Sire whom all obey, 
Addressed in pleasant words like these 
Him rich in long austerities: 
"Thou by the penance, Kusik's son, 
A place 'mid royal saints hast won. 
Pleased with thy constant penance, we 
This lofty rank assign to thee." 

Thus spoke the glorious Lord most High 
Father of earth and air and sky, 
And with the Gods around him spread 
Home to his changeless sphere he sped. 
But Visvamitra scorned the grace, 
And bent in shame his angry face. 
Burning with rage, o'erwhelmed with grief, 
Thus in his heart exclaimed the chief: 
"No fruit, I ween, have I secured 
By strictest penance long endured, 
If Gods and all the saints decree 
To make but royal saint of me." 
Thus pondering, he with sense subdued, 
[069] With sternest zeal his vows renewed. 

Canto LVII. Trisanku. 229 

Then reigned a monarch, true of soul, 
Who kept each sense in firm control; 
Of old Ikshvaku's line he came, 
That glories in Trisanku's 234 name. 
Within his breast, O Raghu's child, 
Arose a longing, strong and wild, 
Great offerings to the Gods to pay, 
And win, alive, to heaven his way. 
His priest Vasishtha's aid he sought, 
And told him of his secret thought. 
But wise Vasishtha showed the hope 
Was far beyond the monarch's scope. 
Trisanku then, his suit denied, 
Far to the southern region hied, 
To beg Vasishtha's sons to aid 
The mighty plan his soul had made. 
There King Trisanku, far renowned, 
Vasishtha's hundred children found, 
Each on his fervent vows intent, 
For mind and fame preeminent. 
To these the famous king applied, 
Wise children of his holy guide. 
Saluting each in order due. 
His eyes, for shame, he downward threw, 
And reverent hands together pressed, 
The glorious company addressed: 
"I as a humble suppliant seek 
Succour of you who aid the weak. 
A mighty offering I would pay, 

234 "Trisanku, king of Ayodhya, was seventh in descent from Ikshvaku, and 
Dasarafha holds the thirty-fourth place in the same genealogy. See Canto LXX. 
We are thrown back, therefore, to very ancient times, and it occasions some 
surprise to find Vasishtha and Visvamitra, actors in these occurences, still alive 
in Rama's time." 

230 The Ramayana 

But sage Vasishtha answered, Nay. 
Be yours permission to accord, 
And to my rites your help afford. 
Sons of my guide, to each of you 
With lowly reverence here I sue; 
To each, intent on penance-vow, 
O Brahmans, low my head I bow, 
And pray you each with ready heart 
In my great rite to bear a part, 
That in the body I may rise 
And dwell with Gods within the skies. 
Sons of my guide, none else I see 
Can give what he refuses me. 
Ikshvaku's children still depend 
Upon their guide most reverend; 
And you, as nearest in degree 
To him, my deities shall be!" 

Canto LVIII. Trisanku Cursed. 

Trisanku's speech the hundred heard, 
And thus replied, to anger stirred: 
"Why foolish King, by him denied, 
Whose truthful lips have never lied, 
Dost thou transgress his prudent rule, 
And seek, for aid, another school? 235 

235 "It does not appear how Trisanku, in asking the aid of Vasishtha's sons 
after applying in vain to their father, could be charged with resorting to another 
sdkhd (School) in the ordinary sense of that word; as it is not conceivable 
that the sons should have been of another Sakha from the father, whose cause 
they espouse with so much warmth. The commentator in the Bombay edition 

Canto LVIII. Trisanku Cursed. 23 1 

Ikshvaku's sons have aye relied 
Most surely on their holy guide: 
Then how dost thou, fond Monarch, dare 
Transgress the rule his lips declare? 
"Thy wish is vain," the saint replied, 
And bade thee cast the plan aside. 
Then how can we, his sons, pretend 
In such a rite our aid to lend? 
O Monarch, of the childish heart, 
Home to thy royal town depart. 
That mighty saint, thy priest and guide, 
At noblest rites may well preside: 
The worlds for sacrifice combined 
A worthier priest could never find." 

Such speech of theirs the monarch heard, 
Though rage distorted every word, 
And to the hermits made reply: 
"You, like your sire, my suit deny. 
For other aid I turn from you: 
So, rich in penance, Saints, adieu!" 

Vasishtha's children heard, and guessed 
His evil purpose scarce expressed, 
And cried, while rage their bosoms burned, 

"Be to a vile Chandala 236 turned!" [070] 

This said, with lofty thoughts inspired, 
Each to his own retreat retired. 

explains the word Sdkhantaram as Yajanadina rakshantaram, 'one who by 
sacrificing for thee, etc., will be another protector.' Gorresio's Gauda text, 
which may often be used as a commentary on the older one, has the following 
paraphrase of the words in question, ch. 60, 3. Mulam utsrijya kasmat tvam 
sakhasv ichhasi lambitum. 'Why, forsaking the root, dost thou desire to hang 
upon the branches?' " MUIR{FNS, Sanskrit Texts, Vol. I., p. 401. 
236 A Chandala was a man born of the illegal and impure union of a Sudra with 
a woman of one of the three higher castes. 

232 The Ramayana 

That night Trisanku underwent 
Sad change in shape and lineament. 
Next morn, an outcast swart of hue, 
His dusky cloth he round him drew. 
His hair had fallen from his head, 
And roughness o'er his skin was spread. 
Such wreaths adorned him as are found 
To flourish on the funeral ground. 
Each armlet was an iron ring: 
Such was the figure of the king, 
That every counsellor and peer, 
And following townsman, fled in fear. 

Alone, unyielding to dismay, 
Though burnt by anguish night and day, 
Great Visvamitra's side he sought, 
Whose treasures were by penance bought. 

The hermit with his tender eyes 
Looked on Trisanku's altered guise, 
And grieving at his ruined state 
Addressed him thus, compassionate: 
"Great King," the pious hermit said, 
"What cause thy steps has hither led, 
Ayodhya's mighty Sovereign, whom 
A curse has plagued with outcast's doom?" 
In vile Chandala 237 shape, the king 
Heard Visvamitra's questioning, 
And, suppliant palm to palm applied, 
With answering eloquence he cried: 

237 "jjj e Chandala was regarded as the vilest and most abject of the men sprung 
from wedlock forbidden by the law (Manavadharmasastra, Lib. X. 12.); a kind 
of social malediction weighed upon his head and rejected him from human 
society." GORRESIO{FNS. 

Canto LVIII. Trisanku Cursed. 233 

"My priest and all his sons refused 
To aid the plan on which I mused. 
Failing to win the boon I sought, 
To this condition I was brought. 
I, in the body, Saint, would fain 
A mansion in the skies obtain. 
I planned a hundred rites for this, 
But still was doomed the fruit to miss. 
Pure are my lips from falsehood's stain, 
And pure they ever shall remain, — 
Yea, by a Warrior's faith I swear, — 
Though I be tried with grief and care. 
Unnumbered rites to Heaven I paid, 
With righteous care the sceptre swayed; 
And holy priest and high-souled guide 
My modest conduct gratified. 
But, O thou best of hermits, they 
Oppose my wish these rites to pay; 
They one and all refuse consent, 
Nor aid me in my high intent. 
Fate is, I ween, the power supreme, 
Man's effort but an idle dream, 
Fate whirls our plans, our all away; 
Fate is our only hope and stay; 
Now deign, O blessed Saint, to aid 
Me, even me by Fate betrayed, 
Who come, a suppliant, sore distressed, 
One grace, O Hermit, to request. 
No other hope or way I see: 
No other refuge waits for me. 
Oh, aid me in my fallen state, 
And human will shall conquer Fate." 

234 The Ramayana 

Canto LIX. The Sons Of Vasishtha. 

Then Kusik's son, by pity warmed, 
Spoke sweetly to the king transformed: 
"Hail! glory of Ikshvaku's line: 
I know how bright thy virtues shine. 
Dismiss thy fear, O noblest Chief, 
For I myself will bring relief. 
The holiest saints will I invite 
To celebrate thy purposed rite: 
So shall thy vow, O King, succeed, 
And from thy cares shalt thou be freed. 
Thou in the form which now thou hast, 
Transfigured by the curse they cast, — 
Yea, in the body, King, shalt flee, 
Transported, where thou fain wouldst be. 
O Lord of men, I ween that thou 
Hast heaven within thy hand e'en now, 
For very wisely hast thou done, 
And refuge sought with Kusik's son." 

Thus having said, the sage addressed 
His sons, of men the holiest, 
And bade the prudent saints whate'er 
Was needed for the rite prepare. 
The pupils he was wont to teach 
He summoned next, and spoke this speech: 
"Go bid Vasishtha'a sons appear, 
And all the saints be gathered here. 
And what they one and all reply 
When summoned by this mandate high, 
To me with faithful care report, 
Omit no word and none distort." 

Canto LIX. The Sons Of Vasishtha. 235 

The pupils heard, and prompt obeyed, 
To every side their way they made. 
Then swift from every quarter sped 
The sages in the Vedas read. 
Back to that saint the envoys came, 
Whose glory shone like burning flame, 
And told him in their faithful speech 
The answer that they bore from each: 
"Submissive to thy word, O Seer, 
The holy men are gathering here. 
By all was meet obedience shown: 

Mahodaya 238 refused alone. [071] 

And now, O Chief of hermits, hear 
What answer, chilling us with fear, 
Vasishtha's hundred sons returned, 
Thick- speaking as with rage they burned: 
"How will the Gods and saints partake 
The offerings that the prince would make, 
And he a vile and outcast thing, 
His ministrant one born a king? 
Can we, great Brahmans, eat his food, 
And think to win beatitude, 
By Visvamitra purified?" 
Thus sire and sons in scorn replied, 
And as these bitter words they said, 
Wild fury made their eyeballs red. 

Their answer when the arch-hermit heard, 
His tranquil eyes with rage were blurred; 
Great fury in his bosom woke, 
And thus unto the youths he spoke: 
"Me, blameless me they dare to blame, 

238 This appellation, occuring nowhere else in the poem except as the name of 
a city, appears twice in this Canto as a name of Vasishtha. 

236 The Ramayana 

And disallow the righteous claim 
My fierce austerities have earned: 
To ashes be the sinners turned. 
Caught in the noose of Fate shall they 
To Yama's kingdom sink to-day. 
Seven hundred times shall they be born 
To wear the clothes the dead have worn. 
Dregs of the dregs, too vile to hate, 
The flesh of dogs their maws shall sate. 
In hideous form, in loathsome weed, 
A sad existence each shall lead. 
Mahodaya too, the fool who fain 
My stainless life would try to stain, 
Stained in the world with long disgrace 
Shall sink into a fowler's place. 
Rejoicing guiltless blood to spill, 
No pity through his breast shall thrill. 
Cursed by my wrath for many a day, 
His wretched life for sin shall pay." 

Thus, girt with hermit, saint, and priest, 
Great Visvamitra spoke — and ceased. 

Canto LX. Trisanku's Ascension. 

Canto LX. Trisanku's Ascension. 237 

So with ascetic might, in ire, 

He smote the children and the sire. 

Then Visvamitra, far-renowned, 

Addressed the saints who gathered round: 

"See by my side Trisanku stand, 

Ikshvaku's son, of liberal hand. 

Most virtuous and gentle, he 

Seeks refuge in his woe with me. 

Now, holy men, with me unite, 

And order so his purposed rite 

That in the body he may rise 

And win a mansion in the skies." 

They heard his speech with ready ear 
And, every bosom filled with fear 
Of Visvamitra, wise and great, 
Spoke each to each in brief debate: 
"The breast of Kusik's son, we know, 
With furious wrath is quick to glow. 
Whate'er the words he wills to say, 
We must, be very sure, obey. 
Fierce is our lord as fire, and straight 
May curse us all infuriate. 
So let us in these rites engage, 
As ordered by the holy sage. 
And with our best endeavour strive 
That King Ikshvaku's son, alive, 
In body to the skies may go 
By his great might who wills it so." 

238 The Ramayana 

Then was the rite begun with care: 
All requisites and means were there: 
And glorious Visvamitra lent 
His willing aid as president. 
And all the sacred rites were done 
By rule and use, omitting none. 
By chaplain-priest, the hymns who knew, 
In decent form and order due. 
Some time in sacrifice had past, 
And Visvamitra made, at last, 
The solemn offering with the prayer 
That all the Gods might come and share. 
But the Immortals, one and all, 
Refused to hear the hermit's call. 

Then red with rage his eyeballs blazed: 
The sacred ladle high he raised, 
And cried to King Ikshvaku's son: 
"Behold my power, by penance won: 
Now by the might my merits lend, 
Ikshvaku's child, to heaven ascend. 
In living frame the skies attain, 
Which mortals thus can scarcely gain. 
My vows austere, so long endured, 
Have, as I ween, some fruit assured. 
Upon its virtue, King, rely, 
And in thy body reach the sky." 

His speech had scarcely reached its close, 
When, as he stood, the sovereign rose, 
And mounted swiftly to the skies 
Before the wondering hermits' eyes. 

Canto LX. Trisanku's Ascension. 239 

But Indra, when he saw the king 
His blissful regions entering, 
With all the army of the Blest 
Thus cried unto the unbidden guest: 
"With thy best speed, Trisanku, flee: 
Here is no home prepared for thee. 
By thy great master's curse brought low, 
Go, falling headlong, earthward go." 

Thus by the Lord of Gods addressed, 
Trisanku fell from fancied rest, 
And screaming in his swift descent, 
"O, save me, Hermit!" down he went. 
And Visvamitra heard his cry, 
And marked him falling from the sky, 
And giving all his passion sway, 

Cried out in fury, "Stay, O stay!" [072] 

By penance-power and holy lore, 
Like Him who framed the worlds of yore, 
Seven other saints he fixed on high 
To star with light the southern sky. 
Girt with his sages forth he went, 
And southward in the firmament 
New wreathed stars prepared to set 
In many a sparkling coronet. 
He threatened, blind with rage and hate, 
Another Indra to create, 
Or, from his throne the ruler hurled, 
All Indraless to leave the world. 
Yea, borne away by passion's storm, 
The sage began new Gods to form. 
But then each Titan, God, and saint, 
Confused with terror, sick and faint, 
To high souled Visvamitra hied, 

240 The Ramayana 

And with soft words to soothe him tried: 
"Lord of high destiny, this king, 
To whom his master's curses cling, 
No heavenly home deserves to gain, 
Unpurified from curse and stain." 

The son of Kusik, undeterred, 
The pleading of the Immortals heard, 
And thus in haughty words expressed 
The changeless purpose of his breast: 
"Content ye, Gods: I soothly sware 
Trisanku to the skies to bear 
Clothed in his body, nor can I 
My promise cancel or deny. 
Embodied let the king ascend 
To life in heaven that ne'er shall end. 
And let these new-made stars of mine 
Firm and secure for ever shine. 
Let these, my work, remain secure 
Long as the earth and heaven endure. 
This, all ye Gods, I crave: do you 
Allow the boon for which I sue." 
Then all the Gods their answer made: 
"So be it, Saint, as thou hast prayed. 
Beyond the sun's diurnal way 
Thy countless stars in heaven shall stay: 
And 'mid them hung, as one divine, 
Head downward shall Trisanku shine; 
And all thy stars shall ever fling 
Their rays attendant on the king." 239 

239 "jjjg seven ancient rishis or saints, as has been said before, were the seven 
stars of Ursa Major. The seven other new saints which are here said to have 
been created by Visvamitra should be seven new southern stars, a sort of new 
Ursa. Von Schlegel thinks that this mythical fiction of new stars created by 

Canto LXI. Sunahsepha. 241 

The mighty saint, with glory crowned, 
With all the sages compassed round, 
Praised by the Gods, gave full assent, 
And Gods and sages homeward went. 

Canto LXI. Sunahsepha. 

Then Visvamitra, when the Blest 

Had sought their homes of heavenly rest, 

Thus, mighty Prince, his counsel laid 

Before the dwellers of the shade: 

"The southern land where now we are 

Offers this check our rites to bar: 240 

To other regions let us speed, 

And ply our tasks from trouble freed. 

Now turn we to the distant west. 

To Pushkar's 241 wood where hermits rest, 

Visvamitra may signify that these southern stars, unknown to the Indians as 
long as they remained in the neighbourhood of the Ganges, became known 
to them at a later date when they colonized the southern regions of India." 

240 "-pjjjg canno t re fer to the events just related: for Visvamitra was successful 
in the sacrifice performed for Trisanku. And yet no other impediment is 
mentioned. Still his restless mind would not allow him to remain longer in 
the same spot. So the character of Visvamitra is ingeniously and skilfully 
shadowed forth: as he had been formerly a most warlike king, loving battle 
and glory, bold, active, sometimes unjust, and more frequently magnanimous, 
such also he always shows himself in his character of anchorite and ascetic." 

241 Near the modern city of Ajmere. The place is sacred still, and the name is 
preserved in the Hindi. Lassen, however, says that this Pushkala or Pushkara, 
called by the Grecian writers neuKeAmc,, the earliest place of pilgrimage 
mentioned by name, is not to be confounded with the modern Pushkara in 

242 The Ramayana 

And there to rites austere apply, 
For not a grove with that can vie." 

The saint, in glory's light arrayed, 
In Pushkar's wood his dwelling made, 
And living there on roots and fruit 
Did penance stern and resolute. 

The king who filled Ayodhya's throne, 
By Ambarisha's name far known, 
At that same time, it chanced, began 
A sacrificial rite to plan. 
But Indra took by force away 
The charger that the king would slay. 
The victim lost, the Brahman sped 
To Ambarisha's side, and said: 
"Gone is the steed, O King, and this 
[073] Is due to thee, in care remiss. 

Such heedless faults will kings destroy 
Who fail to guard what they enjoy. 
The flaw is desperate: we need 
The charger, or a man to bleed. 
Quick! bring a man if not the horse, 
That so the rite may have its course." 

Canto LXI. Sunahsepha. 243 

The glory of Ikshvaku's line 
Made offer of a thousand kine, 
And sought to buy at lordly price 
A victim for the sacrifice. 
To many a distant land he drove, 
To many a people, town, and grove, 
And holy shades where hermits rest, 
Pursuing still his eager quest. 
At length on Bhrigu's sacred height 
The saint Richfka met his sight 
Sitting beneath the holy boughs. 
His children near him, and his spouse. 

The mighty lord drew near, assayed 
To win his grace, and reverence paid; 
And then the sainted king addressed 
The Brahman saint with this request: 
"Bought with a hundred thousand kine, 
Give me, O Sage, a son of thine 
To be a victim in the rite, 
And thanks the favour shall requite. 
For I have roamed all countries round, 
Nor sacrificial victim found. 
Then, gentle Hermit, deign to spare 
One child amid the number there." 

Then to the monarch's speech replied 
The hermit, penance-glorified: 
"For countless kine, for hills of gold, 
Mine eldest son shall ne'er be sold." 
But, when she heard the saint's reply, 
The children's mother, standing nigh, 
Words such as these in answer said 
To Ambarisha, monarch dread: 

244 The Ramayana 

"My lord, the saint, has spoken well: 
His eldest child he will not sell. 
And know, great Monarch, that above 
The rest my youngest born I love. 
'Tis ever thus: the father's joy 
Is centred in his eldest boy. 
The mother loves her darling best 
Whom last she rocked upon her breast: 
My youngest I will ne'er forsake." 

As thus the sire and mother spake, 
Young Sunahsepha, of the three 
The midmost, cried unurged and free: 
"My sire withholds his eldest son, 
My mother keeps her youngest one: 
Then take me with thee, King: I ween 
The son is sold who comes between." 
The king with joy his home resought, 
And took the prize his kine had bought. 
He bade the youth his car ascend, 
And hastened back the rites to end. 242 So the ram caught in 

the thicket took the place of Isaac, or, as the 

Musalmans say, of Ishmael. 

242 'Ambarfsha is the twenty-ninth in descent from Ikshvaku, and is there- 
fore separated by an immense space of time from Trisanku in whose story 
Visvamitra had played so important a part. Yet Richfka, who is represented as 
having young sons while Ambarfsha was yet reigning being himself the son of 
Bhrigu and to be numbered with the most ancient sages, is said to have married 
the younger sister of Visvamitra. But I need not again remark that there is a 
perpetual anachronism in Indian mythology." SCHLEGEL.{FNS. 

"In the mythical story related in this and the following Canto we may 
discover, I think, some indication of the epoch at which the immolation of 
lower animals was substituted for human sacrifice. ... So when Iphigenia was 
about to be sacrificed at Aulis, one legend tells us that a hind was substituted 
for the virgin." GORRESIO{FNS. 

Canto LXII. Ambarisha's Sacrifice. 245 

Canto LXII. Ambarisha's Sacrifice. 

As thus the king that youth conveyed, 
His weary steeds at length he stayed 
At height of noon their rest to take 
Upon the bank of Pushkar's lake. 
There while the king enjoyed repose 
The captive Sunahsepha rose, 
And hasting to the water's side 
His uncle Visvamitra spied, 
With many a hermit 'neath the trees 
Engaged in stern austerities. 

Distracted with the toil and thirst, 
With woeful mien, away he burst, 
Swift to the hermit's breast he flew, 
And weeping thus began to sue: 
"No sire have I, no mother dear, 
No kith or kin my heart to cheer: 
As justice bids, O Hermit, deign 
To save me from the threatened pain. 
O thou to whom the wretched flee, 
And find a saviour, Saint, in thee, 
Now let the king obtain his will, 
And me my length of days fulfil, 
That rites austere I too may share, 
May rise to heaven and rest me there. 
With tender soul and gentle brow 
Be guardian of the orphan thou, 
And as a father pities, so 
Preserve me from my fear and woe." 

246 The Ramayana 

When Visvamitra, glorious saint, 
Had heard the boy's heart-rending plaint. 

He soothed his grief, his tears he dried, [074] 

Then called his sons to him, and cried: 
"The time is come for you to show 
The duty and the aid bestow 
For which, regarding future life, 
A man gives children to his wife. 
This hermit's son, whom here you see 
A suppliant, refuge seeks with me. 
O sons, the friendless youth befriend, 
And, pleasing me, his life defend. 
For holy works you all have wrought, 
True to the virtuous life I taught. 
Go, and as victims doomed to bleed, 
Die, and Lord Agni's hunger feed. 
So shall the rite completed end, 
This orphan gain a saving friend, 
Due offerings to the Gods be paid, 
And your own father's voice obeyed." 

Then Madhushyand and all the rest 
Answered their sire with scorn and jest: 
"What! aid to others' sons afford, 
And leave thine own to die, my lord! 
To us it seems a horrid deed, 
As 'twere on one's own flesh to feed." 

The hermit heard his sons' reply, 
And burning rage inflamed his eye. 
Then forth his words of fury burst: 
"Audacious speech, by virtue cursed! 
It lifts on end each shuddering hair — 
My charge to scorn! my wrath to dare! 

Canto LXII. Ambarisha's Sacrifice. 247 

You, like Vasishtha's evil brood, 
Shall make the flesh of dogs your food 
A thousand years in many a birth, 
And punished thus shall dwell on earth." 

Thus on his sons his curse he laid. 
Then calmed again that youth dismayed, 
And blessed him with his saving aid: 
"When in the sacred fetters bound, 
And with a purple garland crowned, 
At Vishnu's post thou standest tied, 
With lauds be Agni glorified. 
And these two hymns of holy praise 
Forget not, Hermit's son, to raise 
In the king's rite, and thou shalt be 
Lord of thy wish, preserved, and free." 

He learnt the hymns with mind intent, 
And from the hermit's presence went. 
To Ambarisha thus he spake: 
"Let us our onward journey take. 
Haste to thy home, O King, nor stay 
The lustral rites with slow delay." 

The boy's address the monarch cheered, 
And soon the sacred ground he neared. 
The convocation's high decree 
Declared the youth from blemish free; 
Clothed in red raiment he was tied 
A victim at the pillar's side. 
There bound, the Fire-God's hymn he raised, 
And Indra and Upendra praised. 
Thousand-eyed Vishnu, pleased to hear 
The mystic laud, inclined his ear, 
And won by worship, swift to save, 

248 The Ramayana 

Long life to Sunahsepha gave. 

The king in bounteous measure gained 

The fruit of sacrifice ordained, 

By grace of Him who rules the skies, 

Lord Indra of the thousand eyes. 

And Visvamitra evermore. 
Pursued his task on Pushkar's shore 
Until a thousand years had past 
In fierce austerity and fast. 

Canto LXIII. Menaka. 

A thousand years had thus flown by 
When all the Gods within the sky, 
Eager that he the fruit might gain 
Of fervent rite and holy pain, 
Approached the great ascetic, now 
Bathed after toil and ended vow. 
Then Brahma speaking for the rest 
With sweetest words the sage addressed: 
"Hail, Saint! This high and holy name 
Thy rites have won, thy merits claim." 

Canto LXIII. Menaka. 249 

Thus spoke the Lord whom Gods revere, 
And sought again his heavenly sphere. 
But Visvamitra, more intent, 
His mind to sterner penance bent. 

So many a season rolled away, 
When Menaka, fair nymph, one day 
Came down from Paradise to lave 
Her perfect limbs in Pushkar's wave, 
The glorious son of Kusik saw 
That peerless shape without a flaw 
Flash through the flood's translucent shroud 
Like lightning gleaming through a cloud. 
He saw her in that lone retreat, 
Most beautiful from head to feet, 
And by Kandarpa's 243 might subdued 
He thus addressed her as he viewed: 
"Welcome, sweet nymph! O deign, I pray, 
In these calm shades awhile to stay. 
To me some gracious favour show, 
For love has set my breast aglow." 

He spoke. The fairest of the fair 
Made for awhile her dwelling there, 
While day by day the wild delight 
Stayed vow austere and fervent rite 
There as the winsome charmer wove 
Her spells around him in the grove, 
And bound him in a golden chain, 
Five sweet years fled, and five again. 
Then Visvamitra woke to shame, 
And, fraught with anguish, memory came 
For quick he knew, with anger fired, 
That all the Immortals had conspired [075] 

243 The Indian Cupid. 

250 The Ramayana 

To lap his careless soul in ease, 

And mar his long austerities. 

"Ten years have past, each day and night 

Unheeded in delusive flight. 

So long my fervent rites were stayed, 

While thus I lay by love betrayed." 

As thus long sighs the hermit heaved, 

And, touched with deep repentance, grieved, 

He saw the fair one standing nigh 

With suppliant hands and trembling eye. 

With gentle words he bade her go, 

Then sought the northern hills of snow. 

With firm resolve he vowed to beat 

The might of love beneath his feet. 

Still northward to the distant side 

Of Kausiki 244 , the hermit hide, 

And gave his life to penance there 

With rites austere most hard to bear. 

A thousand years went by, and still 

He laboured on the northern hill 

With pains so terrible and drear 

That all the Gods were chilled with fear, 

244 "jjjg same as s jj e whose praises Visvamitra has already sung in Canto 
XXXV, and whom the poet brings yet alive upon the scene in Canto LXI. Her 
proper name was Satyavati (Truthful); the patronymic, Kausiki was preserved 
by the river into which she is said to have been changed, and is still recognized 
in the corrupted forms Kusa and Kusi. The river flows from the heights of 
the Himalaya towards the Ganges, bounding on the east the country of Videha 
(Behar). The name is no doubt half hidden in the Cosoagus of Pliny and the 
Kossounos of Arrian. But each author has fallen into the same error in his 
enumeration of these rivers (Condochatem, Erannoboam, Cosoagum, Sonum). 
The Erannoboas, (Hiranyavaha) and the Sone are not different streams, but 
well-known names of the same river. Moreover the order is disturbed, in which 
on the right and left they fall into the Ganges. To be consistent with geogra- 
phy it should be written: Erannoboam sive Sonum, Condochatem (Gandaki), 
Cosoagum." SCHLEGEL{FNS. 

Canto LXIII. Menaka. 251 

And Gods and saints, for swift advice, 
Met in the halls of Paradise. 
"Let Kusik's son," they counselled, "be 
A Mighty saint by just decree." 
His ear to hear their counsel lent 
The Sire of worlds, omnipotent. 
To him enriched by rites severe 
He spoke in accents sweet to hear: 
"Hail, Mighty Saint! dear son, all hail! 
Thy fervour wins, thy toils prevail. 
Won by thy vows and zeal intense 
I give this high preeminence." 
He to the General Sire replied, 
Not sad, nor wholly satisfied: 
"When thou, O Brahma, shalt declare 
The title, great beyond compare, 
Of Brahman saint my worthy meed, 
Hard earned by many a holy deed, 
Then may I deem in sooth I hold 
Each sense of body well controlled." 
Then Brahma cried, "Not yet, not yet: 
Toil on awhile O Anchoret!" 

252 The Ramayana 

Thus having said to heaven he went, 
The saint, upon his task intent, 
Began his labours to renew, 
Which sterner yet and fiercer grew. 
His arms upraised, without a rest, 
With but one foot the earth he pressed; 
The air his food, the hermit stood 
Still as a pillar hewn from wood. 
Around him in the summer days 
Five mighty fires combined to blaze. 
In floods of rain no veil was spread 
Save clouds, to canopy his head. 
In the dank dews both night and day 
Couched in the stream the hermit lay. 
Thus, till a thousand years had fled, 
He plied his task of penance dread. 
Then Vishnu and the Gods with awe 
The labours of the hermit saw, 
And Sakra, in his troubled breast, 
Lord of the skies, his fear confessed. 
And brooded on a plan to spoil 
The merits of the hermit's toil. 
Encompassed by his Gods of Storm 
He summoned Rambha, fair of form, 
And spoke a speech for woe and weal, 
The saint to mar, the God to heal. 

Canto LXIV. Rambha. 

Canto LXIV. Rambha. 253 

"A great emprise, O lovely maid, 

To save the Gods, awaits thine aid: 

To bind the son of Kusik sure, 

And take his soul with love's sweet lure." 

Thus order'd by the Thousand-eyed 

The suppliant nymph in fear replied: 

"O Lord of Gods, this mighty sage 

Is very fierce and swift to rage. 

I doubt not, he so dread and stern 

On me his scorching wrath will turn. 

Of this, my lord, am I afraid: 

Have mercy on a timid maid." 

Her suppliant hands began to shake, 

When thus again Lord Indra spake: 

"O Rambha, drive thy fears away, 

And as I bid do thou obey. 

In Koil's form, who takes the heart 

When trees in spring to blossom start, 

I, with Kandarpa for my friend, 

Close to thy side mine aid will lend. [076] 

Do thou thy beauteous splendour arm 

With every grace and winsome charm, 

And from his awful rites seduce 

This Kusik's son, the stern recluse." 

Lord Indra ceased. The nymph obeyed: 
In all her loveliest charms arrayed, 
With winning ways and witching smile 
She sought the hermit to beguile. 
The sweet note of that tuneful bird 
The saint with ravished bosom heard, 
And on his heart a rapture passed 
As on the nymph a look he cast. 
But when he heard the bird prolong 

254 The Ramayana 

His sweet incomparable song, 
And saw the nymph with winning smile, 
The hermit's heart perceived the wile. 
And straight he knew the Thousand-eyed 
A plot against his peace had tried. 
Then Kusik's son indignant laid 
His curse upon the heavenly maid: 
"Because thou wouldst my soul engage 
Who fight to conquer love and rage, 
Stand, till ten thousand years have flown, 
Ill-fated maid, transformed to stone. 
A Brahman then, in glory strong, 
Mighty through penance stern and long, 
Shall free thee from thine altered shape; 
Thou from my curse shalt then escape." 
But when the saint had cursed her so, 
His breast was burnt with fires of woe, 
Grieved that long effort to restrain 
His mighty wrath was all in vain. 
Cursed by the angry sage's power, 
She stood in stone that selfsame hour. 
Kandarpa heard the words he said, 
And quickly from his presence fled. 
His fall beneath his passion's sway 
Had reft the hermit's meed away. 
Unconquered yet his secret foes, 
The humbled saint refused repose: 
"No more shall rage my bosom till, 
Sealed be my lips, my tongue be still. 
My very breath henceforth I hold 
Until a thousand years are told: 
Victorious o'er each erring sense, 
I'll dry my frame with abstinence, 
Until by penance duly done 

Canto LXV. Visvamitra's Triumph 255 

A Brahman's rank be bought and won. 
For countless years, as still as death, 
I taste no food, I draw no breath, 
And as I toil my frame shall stand 
Unharmed by time's destroying hand." 

Canto LXV. Visvamitra's Triumph 

Then from Himalaya's heights of snow, 
The glorious saint prepared to go, 
And dwelling in the distant east 
His penance and his toil increased. 
A thousand years his lips he held 
Closed by a vow unparalleled, 
And other marvels passing thought, 
Unrivalled in the world, he wrought. 
In all the thousand years his frame 
Dry as a log of wood became. 
By many a cross and check beset, 
Rage had not stormed his bosom yet. 
With iron will that naught could bend 
He plied his labour till the end. 
So when the weary years were o'er, 
Freed from his vow so stern and sore, 
The hermit, all his penance sped, 
Sate down to eat his meal of bread. 
Then Indra, clad in Brahman guise, 
Asked him for food with hungry eyes. 
The mighty saint, with steadfast soul, 
To the false Brahman gave the whole, 
And when no scrap for him remained, 

256 The Ramayana 

Fasting and faint, from speech refrained. 

His silent vow he would not break: 

No breath he heaved, no word he spake, 

Then as he checked his breath, behold! 

Around his brow thick smoke-clouds rolled 

And the three worlds, as if o'erspread 

With ravening flames, were filled with dread. 

Then God and saint and bard, convened, 

And Naga lord, and snake, and fiend, 

Thus to the General Father cried, 

Distracted, sad, and terrified: 

"Against the hermit, sore assailed, 

Lure, scathe, and scorn have naught availed, 

Proof against rage and treacherous art 

He keeps his vow with constant heart. 

Now if his toils assist him naught 

To gain the boon his soul has sought, 

He through the worlds will ruin send 

That fixt and moving things shall end, 

The regions now are dark with doom, 

No friendly ray relieves the gloom. 

Each ocean foams with maddened tide, 

The shrinking hills in fear subside. 

Trembles the earth with feverous throe 

The wind in fitful tempest blows. 

No cure we see with troubled eyes: 

And atheist brood on earth may rise. 

The triple world is wild with care, 

Or spiritless in dull despair. 

Before that saint the sun is dim, 

His blessed light eclipsed by him. 

Now ere the saint resolve to bring 

Destruction on each living thing, 

Let us appease, while yet we may, 

Canto LXV. Visvamitra's Triumph 257 

Him bright as fire, like fire to slay. 
Yea, as the fiery flood of Fate 
Lays all creation desolate, 
He o'er the conquered Gods may reign: 
O, grant him what he longs to gain." 

Then all the Blest, by Brahma led, 
Approached the saint and sweetly said: 
"Hail, Brahman Saint! for such thy place: 
Thy vows austere have won our grace. 
A Brahman's rank thy penance stern 
And ceaseless labour richly earn. 
I with the Gods of Storm decree 
Long life, O Brahman Saint, to thee. 
May peace and joy thy soul possess: 
Go where thou wilt in happiness." 

Thus by the General Sire addressed, 
Joy and high triumph filled his breast. 
His head in adoration bowed, 
Thus spoke he to the Immortal crowd: 
"If I, ye Gods, have gained at last 
Both length of days and Brahman caste, 
Grant that the high mysterious name, 
And holy Vedas, own my claim, 
And that the formula to bless 
The sacrifice, its lord confess. 
And let Vasishtha, who excels 
In Warriors' art and mystic spells, 
In love of God without a peer, 
Confirm the boon you promise here." 


258 The Ramayana 

With Brahma's son Vasishtha, best 
Of those who pray with voice repressed, 
The Gods by earnest prayer prevailed, 
And thus his new-made friend he hailed: 
"Thy title now is sure and good 
To rights of saintly Brahmanhood." 
Thus spake the sage. The Gods, content, 
Back to their heavenly mansions went. 
And Visvamitra, pious-souled, 
Among the Brahman saints enrolled, 
On reverend Vasishtha pressed 
The honours due to holy guest. 
Successful in his high pursuit, 
The sage, in penance resolute, 
Walked in his pilgrim wanderings o'er 
The whole broad land from shore to shore. 
Twas thus the saint, O Raghu's son, 
His rank among the Brahmans won. 
Best of all hermits, Prince, is he; 
In him incarnate Penance see. 
Friend of the right, who shrinks from ill, 
Heroic powers attend him still." 

The Brahman, versed in ancient lore, 
Thus closed his tale, and said no more, 
To Satananda Kusik's son 
Cried in delight, Well done! well done! 
Then Janak, at the tale amazed, 
Spoke thus with suppliant hands upraised: 
"High fate is mine, O Sage, I deem, 
And thanks I owe for bliss supreme, 
That thou and Raghu's children too 
Have come my sacrifice to view. 
To look on thee with blessed eyes 

Canto LXVI. Janak's Speech. 259 

Exalts my soul and purifies. 
Yea, thus to see thee face to face 
Enriches me with store of grace. 
Thy holy labours wrought of old, 
And mighty penance, fully told, 
Rama and I with great delight 
Have heard, O glorious Anchorite. 
Unrivalled thine ascetic deeds: 
Thy might, O Saint, all might exceeds. 
No thought may scan, no limit bound 
The virtues that in thee are found. 
The story of thy wondrous fate 
My thirsty ears can never sate. 
The hour of evening rites is near: 
The sun declines in swift career. 
At early dawn, O Hermit, deign 
To let me see thy face again. 
Best of ascetics, part in bliss: 
Do thou thy servant now dismiss." 

The saint approved, and glad and kind 
Dismissed the king with joyful mind 
Around the sage King Janak went 
With priests and kinsmen reverent. 
Then Visvamitra, honoured so, 
By those high-minded, rose to go, 
And with the princes took his way 
To seek the lodging where they lay. 

Canto LXVI. Janak's Speech. 

260 The Ramayana 

With cloudless lustre rose the sun; 
The king, his morning worship done, 
Ordered his heralds to invite 
The princes and the anchorite. 
With honour, as the laws decree, 
The monarch entertained the three. 
Then to the youths and saintly man 
Videha's lord this speech began: 
"O blameless Saint, most welcome thou! 
If I may please thee tell me how. 
Speak, mighty lord, whom all revere, 
'Tis thine to order, mine to hear." 

Thus he on mighty thoughts intent; 
Then thus the sage most eloquent: 
"King Dasaratha's sons, this pair 
Of warriors famous everywhere, 
Are come that best of bows to see 
That lies a treasure stored by thee. 
This, mighty Janak, deign to show, 
That they may look upon the bow, 
And then, contented, homeward go." 
Then royal Janak spoke in turn: 
"O best of Saints, the story learn 
Why this famed bow, a noble prize, 
A treasure in my palace lies. 
A monarch, Devarat by name, 
Who sixth from ancient Nimi came, 
Held it as ruler of the land, 
A pledge in his successive hand. 
[078] This bow the mighty Rudra bore 

At Daksha's 245 sacrifice of yore, 

245 "Daksha was one of the ancient Progenitors or Prajapatis created by Brah- 
ma. The sacrifice which is here spoken of and in which Sankar or Siva (called 

Canto LXVI. Janak's Speech. 261 

When carnage of the Immortals stained 
The rite that Daksha had ordained. 
Then as the Gods sore wounded fled, 
Victorious Rudra, mocking, said: 
"Because, O Gods, ye gave me naught 
When I my rightful portion sought, 
Your dearest parts I will not spare, 
But with my bow your frames will tear." 

The Sons of Heaven, in wild alarm, 
Soft flatteries tried his rage to charm. 
Then Bhava, Lord whom Gods adore, 
Grew kind and friendly as before, 
And every torn and mangled limb 
Was safe and sound restored by him. 
Thenceforth this bow, the gem of bows, 
That freed the God of Gods from foes, 
Stored by our great forefathers lay 
A treasure and a pride for aye. 
Once, as it chanced, I ploughed the ground, 
When sudden, 'neath the share was found 
An infant springing from the earth, 
Named Sita from her secret birth. 246 
In strength and grace the maiden grew, 
My cherished daughter, fair to view. 

also here Rudra and Bhava) smote the Gods because he had not been invited to 
share the sacred oblations with them, seems to refer to the origin of the worship 
of Siva, to its increase and to the struggle it maintained with other older forms 
of worship." GORRESIO{FNS. 
246 Sita means a furrow. 

"Great Erectheus swayed, 
That owed his nurture to the blue-eyed maid, 
But from the teeming furrow took his birth, 
The mighty offspring of the foodful earth." 

Iliad, Book II. 

262 The Ramayana 

I vowed her, of no mortal birth, 
Meet prize for noblest hero's worth. 
In strength and grace the maiden grew, 
And many a monarch came to woo. 
To all the princely suitors I 
Gave, mighty Saint, the same reply: 
"I give not thus my daughter, she 
Prize of heroic worth shall be. 247 
To Mithila the suitors pressed 
Their power and might to manifest. 
To all who came with hearts aglow 
I offered Siva's wondrous bow. 
Not one of all the royal band 
Could raise or take the bow in hand. 
The suitors' puny might I spurned, 
And back the feeble princes turned. 
Enraged thereat, the warriors met, 
With force combined my town beset. 
Stung to the heart with scorn and shame, 
With war and threats they madly came, 
Besieged my peaceful walls, and long 
To Mithila did grievous wrong. 
There, wasting all, a year they lay, 
And brought my treasures to decay, 
Filling my soul, O Hermit chief, 
With bitter woe and hopeless grief. 
At last by long-wrought penance I 
Won favour with the Gods on high, 
Who with my labours well content 
A four-fold host to aid me sent. 
Then swift the baffled heroes fled 
To all the winds discomfited — 

247 "jjj e w h i e story of Sfta, as will be seen in the course of the poem has a 
great analogy with the ancient myth of Proserpine." GORRESIO{FNS. 

Canto LXVII. The Breaking Of The Bow. 263 

Wrong-doers, with their lords and host, 
And all their valour's idle boast. 
This heavenly bow, exceeding bright, 
These youths shall see, O Anchorite. 
Then if young Rama's hand can string 
The bow that baffled lord and king, 
To him I give, as I have sworn, 
My Sita, not of woman born." 

Canto LXVII. The Breaking Of The Bow. 

Then spoke again the great recluse: 

"This mighty bow, O King, produce." 

King Janak, at the saint's request, 

This order to his train addressed: 

"Let the great bow be hither borne, 

Which flowery wreaths and scents adorn." 

Soon as the monarch's words were said, 

His servants to the city sped, 

Five thousand youths in number, all 

Of manly strength and stature tall, 

The ponderous eight-wheeled chest that held 

The heavenly bow, with toil propelled. 

At length they brought that iron chest, 

And thus the godlike king addressed: 

"This best of bows, O lord, we bring, 

Respected by each chief and king, 

And place it for these youths to see, 

If, Sovereign, such thy pleasure be." 

264 The Ramayana 

With suppliant palm to palm applied 
King Janak to the strangers cried: 
"This gem of bows, Brahman Sage, 
Our race has prized from age to age, 
Too strong for those who yet have reigned, 
[079] Though great in might each nerve they strained. 

Titan and fiend its strength defies, 
God, spirit, minstrel of the skies. 
And bard above and snake below 
Are baffled by this glorious bow. 
Then how may human prowess hope 
With such a bow as this to cope? 
What man with valour's choicest gift 
This bow can draw, or string, or lift? 
Yet let the princes, holy Seer, 
Behold it: it is present here." 

Then spoke the hermit pious-souled: 
"Rama, dear son, the bow behold." 
Then Rama at his word unclosed 
The chest wherein its might reposed, 
Thus crying, as he viewed it: "Lo! 
I lay mine hand upon the bow: 
May happy luck my hope attend 
Its heavenly strength to lift or bend." 
"Good luck be thine," the hermit cried: 
"Assay the task!" the king replied. 
Then Raghu's son, as if in sport, 
Before the thousands of the court, 
The weapon by the middle raised 
That all the crowd in wonder gazed. 
With steady arm the string he drew 
Till burst the mighty bow in two. 
As snapped the bow, an awful clang, 

Canto LXVII. The Breaking Of The Bow. 265 

Loud as the shriek of tempests, rang. 
The earth, affrighted, shook amain 
As when a hill is rent in twain. 
Then, senseless at the fearful sound, 
The people fell upon the ground: 
None save the king, the princely pair, 
And the great saint, the shock could bear. 

When woke to sense the stricken train, 
And Janak's soul was calm again, 
With suppliant hands and reverent head, 
These words, most eloquent, he said: 
"O Saint, Prince Rama stands alone: 
His peerless might he well has shown. 
A marvel has the hero wrought 
Beyond belief, surpassing thought. 
My child, to royal Rama wed, 
New glory on our line will shed: 
And true my promise will remain 
That hero's worth the bride should gain. 
Dearer to me than light and life, 
My Sita shall be Rama's wife. 
If thou, O Brahman, leave concede, 
My counsellors, with eager speed, 
Borne in their flying cars, to fair 
Ayodhya's town the news shall bear, 
With courteous message to entreat 
The king to grace my royal seat. 
This to the monarch shall they tell, 
The bride is his who won her well: 
And his two sons are resting here 
Protected by the holy seer. 
So, at his pleasure, let them lead 
The sovereign to my town with speed." 

266 The Ramayana 

The hermit to his prayer inclined 
And Janak, lord of virtuous mind, 
With charges, to Ayodhya sent 
His ministers: and forth they went. 

Canto LXVIII. The Envoys' Speech. 

Three nights upon the road they passed 

To rest the steeds that bore them fast, 

And reached Ayodhya's town at last. 

Then straight at Dasaratha's call 

They stood within the royal hall, 

Where, like a God, inspiring awe, 

The venerable king they saw. 

With suppliant palm to palm applied, 

And all their terror laid aside, 

They spoke to him upon the throne 

With modest words, in gentle tone: 

"Janak, Videha's king, O Sire, 

Has sent us hither to inquire 

The health of thee his friend most dear, 

Of all thy priests and every peer. 

Next Kusik's son consenting, thus 

King Janak speaks, dread liege, by us: 

"I made a promise and decree 

That valour's prize my child should be. 

Kings, worthless found in worth's assay, 

With mien dejected turned away. 

Thy sons, by Visvamitra led, 

Unurged, my city visited, 

And peerless in their might have gained 

Canto LXVIII. The Envoys' Speech. 267 

My daughter, as my vow ordained. 
Full in a vast assembly's view 
Thy hero Rama broke in two 
The gem of bows, of monstrous size, 
That came a treasure from the skies. 
Ordained the prize of hero's might, 
Sita my child is his by right. 
Fain would I keep my promise made, 
If thou, O King, approve and aid. 
Come to my town thy son to see: 
Bring holy guide and priest with thee. 
O lord of kings, my suit allow, 
And let me keep my promised vow. 
So joying for thy children's sake 
Their triumph too shalt thou partake, 
With Visvamitra's high consent." 
Such words with friendship eloquent 
Spoke Janak, fair Videha's king, 
By Satananda's counselling." 

The envoys thus the king addressed, 
And mighty joy his heart possessed. 
To Vamadeva quick he cried, 
Vasishtha, and his lords beside: 
"Lakshman, and he, my princely boy 
Who fills Kausalya's soul with joy, 
By Visvamitra guarded well 

Among the good Videhans dwell. [080] 

Their ruler Janak, prompt to own 
The peerless might my child has shown, 
To him would knit in holy ties 
His daughter, valour's lovely prize. 
If Janak's plan seem good to you, 
Come, speed we to his city too, 

268 The Ramayana 

Nor let occasion idly by." 

He ceased. There came a glad reply 
From priest and mighty saint and all 
The councillors who thronged the hall. 
Then cried the king with joyous heart: 
"To-morrow let us all depart." 

That night the envoys entertained 
With honour and all care remained. 

Canto LXIX. Dasaratha's Visit. 

Soon as the shades of night had fled, 
Thus to the wise Sumantra said 
The happy king, while priest and peer, 
Each in his place, were standing near: 
"Let all my treasurers to-day, 
Set foremost in the long array, 
With gold and precious gems supplied 
In bounteous store, together ride. 
And send you out a mighty force, 
Foot, chariot, elephant, and horse. 
Besides, let many a car of state, 
And noblest steeds, my will await. 
Vasishtha, Vamadeva sage, 
And Markandeya's reverend age, 
Javali, Kasyap's godlike seed, 
And wise Katyayana, shall lead. 
Thy care, Sumantra, let it be 
To yoke a chariot now for me, 
That so we part without delay: 
These envoys hasten me away." 

Canto LXIX. Dasaratha's Visit. 269 

So fared he forth. That host, with speed, 
Quadruple, as the king decreed, 
With priests to head the bright array, 
Followed the monarch on his way. 
Four days they travelled on the road, 
And eve Videha's kingdom showed. 
Janak had left his royal seat 
The venerable king to greet, 
And, noblest, with these words addressed 
That noblest lord, his happy guest: 
"Hail, best of kings: a blessed fate 
Has led thee, Monarch, to my state. 
Thy sons, supreme in high emprise, 
Will gladden now their father's eyes. 
And high my fate, that hither leads 
Vasishtha, bright with holy deeds, 
Girt with these sages far-renowned, 
Like Indra with the Gods around. 
Joy! joy! for vanquished are my foes: 
Joy ! for my house in glory grows, 
With Raghu's noblest sons allied, 
Supreme in strength and valour's pride. 
To-morrow with its early light 
Will shine on my completed rite. 
Then, sanctioned by the saints and thee, 
The marriage of thy Rama see." 

Then Dasaratha, best of those 
Whose speech in graceful order flows, 
With gathered saints on every side, 
Thus to the lord of earth replied: 
"A truth is this I long have known, 
A favour is the giver's own. 
What thou shalt bid, O good and true, 

270 The Ramayana 

We, as our power permits, will do." 

That answer of the truthful lord, 
With virtuous worth and honour stored, 
Janak, Videha's noble king, 
Heard gladly, greatly marvelling. 
With bosoms filled with pleasure met 
Long-parted saint and anchoret, 
And linked in friendship's tie they spent 
The peaceful night in great content. 

Rama and Lakshman thither sped, 
By sainted Visvamitra led, 
And bent in filial love to greet 
Their father, and embraced his feet. 
The aged king, rejoiced to hear 
And see again his children dear, 
Honoured by Janak's thoughtful care, 
With great enjoyment rested there. 
King Janak, with attentive heed, 
Consulted first his daughters' need, 
And ordered all to speed the rite; 
Then rested also for the night. 

Canto LXX. The Maidens Sought. 

Canto LXX. The Maidens Sought. 27 1 

Then with the morn's returning sun. 
King Janak, when his rites were done, 
Skilled all the charms of speech to know, 
Spoke to wise Satananda so: 
"My brother, lord of glorious fame, 
My younger, Kusadhwaj by name, 
Whose virtuous life has won renown, 
Has settled in a lovely town, 
Sankasya, decked with grace divine, 
Whose glories bright as Pushpak's shine, 
While Ikshumati rolls her wave 
Her lofty rampart's foot to lave. 
Him, holy priest, I long to see: 
The guardian of my rite is he: 
That my dear brother may not miss 
A share of mine expected bliss." 

Thus in the presence of the priest 
The royal Janak spoke, and ceased. 

Then came his henchmen, prompt and brave, [081] 

To whom his charge the monarch gave. 
Soon as they heard his will, in haste 
With fleetest steeds away they raced, 
To lead with them that lord of kings, 
As Indra's call Lord Vishnu brings. 
Sankasya's walls they duly gained, 
And audience of the king obtained. 
To him they told the news they brought 
Of marvels past and Janak's thought. 
Soon as the king the story knew 
From those good envoys swift and true, 
To Janak's wish he gave assent, 
And swift to Mithila he went. 
He paid to Janak reverence due, 

272 The Ramayana 

And holy Satananda too, 
Then sate him on a glorious seat 
For kings or Gods celestial meet. 
Soon as the brothers, noble pair 
Peerless in might, were seated there, 
They gave the wise Sudaman, best 
Of councillors, their high behest: 
"Go, noble councillor," they cried, 
"And hither to our presence guide 
Ikshvaku's son, Ayodhya's lord, 
Invincible by foeman's sword, 
With both his sons, each holy seer, 
And every minister and peer." 
Sudaman to the palace flew, 
And saw the mighty king who threw 
Splendour on Raghu's splendid race, 
Then bowed his head with seemly grace: 
"O King, whose hand Ayodhya sways, 
My lord, whom Mithila obeys, 
Yearns with desire, if thou agree, 
Thee with thy guide and priest to see." 
Soon as the councillor had ceased, 
The king, with saint and peer and priest, 
Sought, speeding through the palace gate, 
The hall where Janak held his state. 
There, with his nobles round him spread, 
Thus to Videha's lord be said: 
"Thou knowest, King, whose aid divine 
Protects Ikshvaku's royal line. 
In every need, whate'er befall, 
The saint Vasishtha speaks for all. 
If Visvamitra so allow, 
And all the saints around me now, 
The sage will speak, at my desire, 

Canto LXX. The Maidens Sought. 273 

As order and the truth require." 

Soon as the king his lips had stilled, 
Up rose Vasishtha, speaker skilled. 
And to Videha's lord began 
In flowing words that holy man: 
"From viewless Nature Brahma rose, 
No change, no end, no waste he knows. 
A son had he Marichi styled, 
And Kasyap was Marichi's child. 
From him Vivasvat sprang: from him 
Manu whose fame shall ne'er be dim. 
Manu, who life to mortals gave, 
Begot Ikshvaku good and brave. 
First of Ayodhya's kings was he, 
Pride of her famous dynasty. 
From him the glorious Kukshi sprang, 
Whose fame through all the regions rang. 
Rival of Kukshi's ancient fame, 
His heir, the great Vikukshi, came, 
His son was Vana, lord of might; 
His Anaranya, strong to fight. 
His son was Prithu, glorious name; 
From him the good Trisanku came. 
He left a son renowned afar, 
Known by the name of Dhundhumar. 
His son, who drove the mighty car, 
Was Yuvanasva, feared in war. 
He passed away. Him followed then 
His son Mandhata, king of men. 
His son was blest in high emprise, 
Susandhi, fortunate and wise. 
Two noble sons had he, to wit 
Dhruvasandhi and Prasenajit. 

274 The Ramayana 

Bharat was Dhruvasandhi's son, 

And glorious fame that monarch won. 

The warrior Asit he begot. 

Asit had warfare, fierce and hot, 

With rival kings in many a spot, 

Haihayas, Talajanghas styled, 

And Sasivindus, strong and wild. 

Long time he strove, but forced to yield 

Fled from his kingdom and the field. 

With his two wives away he fled 

Where high Himalaya lifts his head, 

And, all his wealth and glory past, 

He paid the dues of Fate at last. 

The wives he left had both conceived — 

So is the ancient tale believed — 

One, of her rival's hopes afraid 

Fell poison in her viands laid. 

It chanced that Chyavan, Bhrigu's child, 

Had wandered to that pathless wild, 

And there Himalaya's lovely height 

Detained him with a strange delight. 

There came the other widowed queen, 

With lotus eyes and beauteous mien, 

Longing a noble son to bear, 

And wooed the saint with earnest prayer. 

When thus Kalindi, 248 fairest dame, 

With reverent supplication came, 

To her the holy sage replied: 

"Born with the poison from thy side, 

O happy Queen, shall spring ere long 

An infant fortunate and strong. 

Then weep no more, and check thy sighs, 

248 A different lady from the Goddess of the Jumna who bears the same name. 

Canto LXX. The Maidens Sought. 275 

Sweet lady of the lotus eyes." 

The queen, who loved her perished lord, 

For meet reply, the saint adored, 

And, of her husband long bereaved, 

She bore a son by him conceived. 

Because her rival mixed the bane [082] 

To render her conception vain, 

And fruit unripened to destroy, 

Sagar 249 she called her darling boy. 

To Sagar Asamanj was heir: 

Bright Ansuman his consort bare. 

Ansuman's son, Dilipa famed, 

Begot a son Bhagirath named. 

From him the great Kakutstha rose: 

From him came Raghu, feared by foes, 

Of him sprang Purushadak bold, 

Fierce hero of gigantic mould: 

Kalmashapada's name he bore, 

Because his feet were spotted o'er. 250 

From him came Sankan, and from him 

Sudarsan, fair in face and limb. 

From beautiful Sudarsan came 

Prince Agnivarna, bright as flame. 

His son was Sighraga, for speed 

Unmatched; and Maru was his seed. 

Prasusruka was Maru's child; 

His son was Ambarisha styled. 

Nahush was Ambarisha's heir, 

The mighty lord of regions fair: 

Nahush begot Yayati: he, 

249 This is another fanciful derivation, Sa — with, and gara — poison. 

250 Purushadak means a cannibal. First called Kalmdshapdda on account of 
his spotted feet he is said to have been turned into a cannibal for killing the son 
of Vasishtha. 

276 The Ramayana 

Nabhag of happy destiny. 

Son of Nabhag was Aja: his, 

The glorious Dasaratha is, 

Whose noble children boast to be 

Rama and Lakshman, whom we see. 

Thus do those kings of purest race 

Their lineage from Ikshvaku trace: 

Their hero lives the right maintained, 

Their lips with falsehood ne'er were stained. 

In Rama's and in Lakshman's name 

Thy daughters as their wives I claim, 

So shall in equal bands be tied 

Each peerless youth with peerless bride." 

Canto LXXI. Janak's Pedigree. 

Then to the saint supremely wise 

King Janak spoke in suppliant guise: 

"Deign, Hermit, with attentive ear, 

Mv race's origin to hear. 

When kings a daughter's hand bestow, 

Tis right their line and fame to show. 

There was a king whose deeds and worth 

Spread wide his name through heaven and earth, 

Nimi, most virtuous e'en from youth, 

The best of all who love the truth. 

His son and heir was Mithi, and 

His Janak, first who ruled this land. 

He left a son Udavasu, 

Blest with all virtues, good and true. 

His son was Nandivardhan, dear 

Canto LXXI. Janak's Pedigree. 277 

For pious heart and worth sincere. 
His son Suketu, hero brave, 
To Devarat, existence gave. 
King Devarat, a royal sage, 
For virtue, glory of the age, 
Begot Vrihadratha; and he 
Begot, his worthy heir to be, 
The splendid hero Mahabir 
Who long in glory governed here. 
His son was Sudhriti, a youth 
Firm in his purpose, brave in sooth, 
His son was Dhristaketu, blest 
With pious will and holy breast. 
The fame of royal saint he won: 
Haryasva was his princely son. 
Haryasva's son was Maru, who 
Begot Pratindhak, wise and true. 
Next Kirtiratha held the throne, 
His son, for gentle virtues known. 
Then followed Devamidha, then 
Vibudh, Mahandhrak, kings of men. 
Mahandhrak's son, of boundless might, 
Was Kirtirat, who loved the right. 
He passed away, a sainted king, 
And Maharoma following 
To Swarnaroma left the state. 
Then Hrasvaroma, good and great, 
Succeeded, and to him a pair 
Of sons his royal consort bare, 
Elder of these I boast to be: 
Brave Kusadhwaj is next to me. 251 

251 "In the setting forth of these royal genealogies the Bengal recension varies 
but slightly from the Northern. The first six names of the genealogy of 
the Kings of Ayodhya are partly theogonical and partly cosmogonical; the 

278 The Ramayana 

Me then, the elder of the twain, 
My sire anointed here to reign. 
He bade me tend my brother well, 
Then to the forest went to dwell. 
He sought the heavens, and I sustained 
The burden as by law ordained, 
And noble Kusadhwaj, the peer 
Of Gods, I ever held most dear. 
Then came Sankasya's mighty lord, 
Sudhanva, threatening siege and sword, 
And bade me swift on him bestow 
[083] Siva's incomparable bow, 

And Sita of the lotus eyes: 
But I refused each peerless prize. 
Then, host to host, we met the foes, 
And fierce the din of battle rose, 
Sudhanva, foremost of his band, 
Fell smitten by my single hand. 
When thus Sankasya's lord was slain, 
I sanctified, as laws ordain, 
My brother in his stead to reign, 
Thus are we brothers, Saint most high 
The younger he, the elder I. 
Now, mighty Sage, my spirit joys 
To give these maidens to the boys. 
Let Sita be to Rama tied. 
And Urmila be Lakshman's bride. 
First give, O King, the gift of cows, 
As dowry of each royal spouse, 
Due offerings to the spirits pay, 
And solemnize the wedding-day. 

other names are no doubt in accordance with tradition and deserve the same 
amount of credence as the ancient traditional genealogies of other nations." 

Canto LXXII. The Gift Of Kine. 279 

The moon tonight, O royal Sage, 
In Magha's 252 House takes harbourage; 
On the third night his rays benign 
In second Phalguni 253 will shine: 
Be that the day, with prosperous fate, 
The nuptial rites to celebrate." 

Canto LXXII. The Gift Of Kine. 

When royal Janak's words were done, 
Joined with Vasishtha Kusik's son, 
The mighty sage began his speech: 
"No mind may soar, no thought can reach 
The glories of Ikshvaku's line, 
Or, great Videha's King, of thine: 
None in the whole wide world may vie 
With them in fame and honours high. 
Well matched, I ween, in holy bands, 
These peerless pairs will join their hands. 
But hear me as I speak once more; 
Thy brother, skilled in duty's lore, 
Has at his home a royal pair 
Of daughters most divinely fair. 
I for the hands of these sweet two 
For Bharat and Satrughna sue, 
Both princes of heroic mould, 
Wise, fair of form, and lofty-souled. 
All Dasaratha's sons, I ween, 

252 The tenth of the lunar asterisms, composed of five stars. 

253 There are two lunar asterisms of this name, one following the other 
immediately, forming the eleventh and twelfth of the lunar mansions. 

280 The Ramayana 

Own each young grace of form and mien: 
Brave as the Gods are they, nor yield 
To the great Lords the worlds who shield. 
By these, good Prince of merits high, 
Ikshvaku's house with thine ally." 

The suit the holy sage preferred, 
With willing ear the monarch heard: 
Vasishtha's lips the counsel praised: 
Then spake the king with hands upraised: 
"Now blest indeed my race I deem, 
Which your high will, O Saints supreme, 
With Dasaratha's house unites 
In bonds of love and marriage rites. 
So be it done. My nieces twain 
Let Bharat and Satrughna gain, 
And the four youths the selfsame day 
Four maiden hands in theirs shall lay. 
No day so lucky may compare, 
For marriage — so the wise declare — 
With the last day of Phalguni 
Ruled by the genial deity." 
Then with raised hands in reverence due 
To those arch-saints he spoke anew: 
"I am your pupil, ever true: 
To me high favour have ye shown; 
Come, sit ye on my royal throne, 
For Dasaratha rules these towers 
E'en as Ayodhya now is ours. 
Do with your own whate'er ye choose: 
Your lordship here will none refuse." 

Canto LXXIII. The Nuptials. 28 1 

He spoke, and to Videha's king 
Thus Dasaratha, answering: 
"Boundless your virtues, lords, whose sway 
The realms of Mithila obey. 
With honouring care you entertain. 
Both holy sage and royal train. 
Now to my house my steps I bend — 
May blessings still on you at end — 
Due offerings to the shades to pay." 
Thus spoke the king, and turned away: 
To Janak first he bade adieu, 
Then followed fast those holy two. 
The monarch reached his palace where 
The rites were paid with solemn care. 
When the next sun began to shine 
He rose and made his gift of kine. 
A hundred thousand cows prepared 
For each young prince the Brahmans shared. 
Each had her horns adorned with gold; 
And duly was the number told, 
Four hundred thousand perfect tale: 
Each brought a calf, each filled a pail. 
And when that glorious task was o'er, 
The monarch with his children four, 
Showed like the Lord of Life divine 
When the worlds' guardians round him shine. 


Canto LXXIII. The Nuptials. 

282 The Ramayana 

On that same day that saw the king 
His gift of kine distributing, 
The lord of Kekaya's son, by name 
Yudhajit, Bharat's uncle, came, 
Asked of the monarch's health, and then 
Addressed the reverend king of men: 
"The lord of Kekaya's realm by me 
Sends greeting, noble King, to thee: 
Asks if the friends thy prayers would bless 
Uninterrupted health possess. 
Right anxious, mighty King, is he 
My sister's princely boy to see. 
For this I sought Ayodhya fair 
The message of my sire to bear. 
There learning, O my liege, that thou 
With sons and noble kinsmen now 
Wast resting here, I sought the place 
Longing to see my nephew's face." 
The king with kind observance cheered 
His friend by tender ties endeared, 
And every choicest honour pressed 
Upon his honourable guest. 

That night with all his children spent, 
At morn King Dasaratha went, 
Behind Vasishtha and the rest, 
To the fair ground for rites addressed. 
Then when the lucky hour was nigh 
Called Victory, of omen high, 
Came Rama, after vow and prayer 
For nuptial bliss and fortune fair, 
With the three youths in bright attire, 
And stood beside his royal sire. 
To Janak then Vasishtha sped, 

Canto LXXIII. The Nuptials. 283 

And to Videha's monarch said: 

"O King, Ayodhya's ruler now 

Has breathed the prayer and vowed the vow, 

And with his sons expecting stands 

The giver of the maidens' hands. 

The giver and the taker both 

Must ratify a mutual oath. 

Perform the part for which we wait, 

And rites of marriage celebrate." 

Skilled in the laws which Scriptures teach, 
He answered thus Vasishtha's speech: 
"O Saint, what warder bars the gate? 
Whose bidding can the king await? 
In one's own house what doubt is shown? 
This kingdom, Sage, is all thine own. 
E'en now the maidens may be found 
Within the sacrificial ground: 
Each vow is vowed and prayed each prayer, 
And they, like fire, are shining there. 
Here by the shrine my place I took 
Expecting thee with eager look, 
No bar the nuptial rites should stay: 
What cause have we for more delay?" 
When Janak's speech the monarch heard, 
To sons and saints he gave the word, 
And set them in the holy ring, 
Then to Vasishtha spoke the king 
Of Mithila: "O mighty Sage, 
Now let this task thy care engage, 
And lend thine aid and counsel wise 
The nuptial rites to solemnize." 

284 The Ramayana 

The saint Vasishtha gave assent, 
And quickly to the task he went, 
With Visvamitra, nothing loth, 
And Satananda aiding both. 
Then, as the rules prescribe, they made 
An altar in the midst, and laid 
Fresh wreaths of fragrant flowers thereon. 
The golden ladles round it shone; 
And many a vase, which branches hid 
Fixed in the perforated lid, 
And sprays, and cups, and censers there 
Stood filled with incense rich and rare; 
Shell-bowls, and spoons, and salvers dressed 
With gifts that greet the honoured guest; 
Piles of parched rice some dishes bore, 
Others with corn prepared ran o'er; 
And holy grass was duly spread 
In equal lengths, while prayers were said. 
Next chief of saints, Vasishtha came 
And laid the offering in the flame. 
Then by the hand King Janak drew 
His SM, beautiful to view, 
And placed her, bright in rich attire, 
Rama to face, before the fire, 
Thus speaking to the royal boy 
Who filled Kausalya's heart with joy: 
"Here Sita stands, my daughter fair, 
The duties of thy life to share. 
Take from her father, take thy bride; 
Join hand to hand, and bliss betide! 
A faithful wife, most blest is she, 
And as thy shade will follow thee." 

Canto LXXIII. The Nuptials. 285 

Thus as he spoke the monarch threw 
O'er her young limbs the holy dew, 
While Gods and saints were heard to swell 
The joyous cry, 'Tis well! Tis well! 
His daughter Sita thus bestowed, 
O'er whom the sacred drops had flowed. 
King Janak's heart with rapture glowed. 
Then to Prince Lakshman thus he cried: 
"Take Urmila thine offered bride, 
And clasp her hand within thine own 
Ere yet the lucky hour be flown." 
Then to Prince Bharat thus cried he; 
"Come, take the hand of Mandavi." 
Then to Satrughna: "In thy grasp 
The hand of Srutakirti clasp. 
Now, Raghu's sons, may all of you 

Be gentle to your wives and true; [085] 

Keep well the vows you make to-day, 
Nor let occasion slip away." 

King Janak's word the youths obeyed; 
The maidens' hands in theirs they laid. 
Then with their brides the princes went 
With ordered steps and reverent 
Round both the fire and Janak, round 
The sages and the sacred ground. 

A flowery flood of lucid dyes 
In rain descended from the skies, 
While with celestial voices blent 
Sweet strains from many an instrument, 
And the nymphs danced in joyous throng 
Responsive to the minstrel's song. 
Such signs of exultation they 

286 The Ramayana 

Saw on the princes' wedding day. 
Still rang the heavenly music's sound 
When Raghu's sons thrice circled round 
The fire, each one with reverent head, 
And homeward then their brides they led. 
They to the sumptuous palace hied 
That Janak's care had seen supplied. 
The monarch girt with saint and peer 
Still fondly gazing followed near. 

Canto LXXIV. Rama With The Axe. 254 

Soon as the night had reached its close 
The hermit Visvamitra rose; 
To both the kings he bade adieu 
And to the northern hill withdrew. 
Ayodhya's lord of high renown 
Received farewell, and sought his town. 
Then as each daughter left her bower 
King Janak gave a splendid dower, 
Rugs, precious silks, a warrior force, 
Cars, elephants, and foot, and horse, 
Divine to see and well arrayed; 
And many a skilful tiring-maid, 
And many a young and trusty slave 
The father of the ladies gave. 

254 This is another Rama, son of Jamadagni, called Parasurama, or Rama with 
the axe, from the weapon which he carried. He was while he lived the terror of 
the Warrior caste, and his name recalls long and fierce struggles between the 
sacerdotal and military order in which the latter suffered severely at the hands 
of their implacable enemy. 

Canto LXXIV. Rama With The Axe. 287 

Silver and coral, gold and pearls 
He gave to his beloved girls. 
These precious gifts the king bestowed 
And sped his guest upon his road. 
The lord of Mithila's sweet town 
Rode to his court and lighted down. 
Ayodhya's monarch, glad and gay, 
Led by the seers pursued his way 
With his dear sons of lofty mind: 
The royal army marched behind. 
As on he fared the voice he heard 
Around of many a dismal bird, 
And every beast in wild affright 
Began to hurry to the right. 
The monarch to Vasishtha cried: 
"What strange misfortune will betide? 
Why do the beasts in terror fly, 
And birds of evil omen cry? 
What is it shakes my heart with dread? 
Why is my soul disquieted?" 

Soon as he heard, the mighty saint 
Thus answered Dasaratha's plaint 
In sweetest tone: "Now, Monarch, mark, 
And learn from me the meaning dark. 
The voices of the birds of air 
Great peril to the host declare: 
The moving beasts the dread allay, 
So drive thy whelming fear away," 

288 The Ramayana 

As he and Dasaratha spoke 
A tempest from the welkin broke, 
That shook the spacious earth amain 
And hurled high trees upon the plain. 
The sun grew dark with murky cloud, 
And o'er the skies was cast a shroud, 
While o'er the army, faint with dread, 
A veil of dust and ashes spread. 
King, princes, saints their sense retained, 
Fear-stupefied the rest remained. 
At length, their wits returning, all 
Beneath the gloom and ashy pall 
Saw Jamadagni's son with dread, 
His long hair twisted round his head, 
Who, sprung from Bhrigu, loved to beat 
The proudest kings beneath his feet. 
Firm as Kailasa's hill he showed, 
Fierce as the fire of doom he glowed. 
His axe upon his shoulder lay, 
His bow was ready for the fray, 
With thirsty arrows wont to fly 
Like Lightnings from the angry sky. 
A long keen arrow forth he drew, 
Invincible like those which flew 
From Siva's ever-conquering bow 
And Tripura in death laid low. 

When his wild form, that struck with awe, 
Fearful as ravening flame, they saw, 
Vasishtha and the saints whose care 
Was sacrifice and muttered prayer, 
Drew close together, each to each, 
And questioned thus with bated speech: 
"Indignant at his father's fate 

Canto LXXV. The Parle. 289 

Will he on warriors vent his hate, 

The slayers of his father slay, 

And sweep the loathed race away? 

But when of old his fury raged 

Seas of their blood his wrath assuaged: [086] 

So doubtless now he has not planned 

To slay all warriors in the land." 

Then with a gift the saints drew near 
To Bhrigu's son whose look was fear, 
And Rama! Rama! soft they cried. 
The gift he took, no word replied. 
Then Bhrigu's son his silence broke 
And thus to Rama Rama spoke: 

Canto LXXV. The Parle. 

"Heroic Rama, men proclaim 
The marvels of thy matchless fame, 
And I from loud-voiced rumour know 
The exploit of the broken bow, 
Yea, bent and broken, mighty Chief, 
A feat most wondrous, past belief. 
Stirred by thy fame thy face I sought: 
A peerless bow I too have brought. 
This mighty weapon, strong and dire, 
Great Jamadagni owned, my sire. 
Draw with its shaft my father's bow, 
And thus thy might, O Rama, show. 
This proof of prowess let me see — 
The weapon bent and drawn by thee; 

290 The Ramayana 

Then single fight our strength shall try, 
And this shall raise thy glory high." 

King Dasaratha heard with dread 
The boastful speech, and thus he said; 
Raising his hands in suppliant guise, 
With pallid cheek and timid eyes: 
"Forgetful of the bloody feud 
Ascetic toils hast thou pursued; 
Then, Brahman, let thy children be 
Untroubled and from danger free. 
Sprung of the race of Bhrigu, who 
Read holy lore, to vows most true, 
Thou swarest to the Thousand-eyed 
And thy fierce axe was cast aside. 
Thou turnedst to thy rites away 
Leaving the earth to Kasyap's sway, 
And wentest far a grove to seek 
Beneath Mahendra's 255 mountain peak. 

Now, mighty Hermit, art thou here 

To slay us all with doom severe? 

For if alone my Rama fall, 

We share his fate and perish all." 

255 "jjjg au thor of the Raghuvansa places the mountain Mahendra in the territo- 
ry of the king of the Kalingans, whose palace commanded a view of the ocean. 
It is well known that the country along the coast to the south of the mouths of 
the Ganges was the seat of this people. Hence it may be suspected that this 
Mahendra is what Pliny calls 'promontorium Calingon.' The modern name, 
Cape Palmyras, from the palmyras Borassus flabelliformis, which abound 
there agrees remarkably with the description of the poet who speaks of the 
groves of these trees. Raghuvansa, VI. 51." SCHLEGEL{FNS. 

Canto LXXV. The Parle. 291 

As thus the aged sire complained 
The mighty chief no answer deigned. 
To Rama only thus he cried: 
"Two bows, the Heavenly Artist's pride, 
Celestial, peerless, vast, and strong, 
By all the worlds were honoured long. 
One to the Three-eyed God 256 was given, 
By glory to the conflict driven, 
Thus armed fierce Tripura he slew: 
And then by thee 'twas burst in two. 
The second bow, which few may brave, 
The highest Gods to Vishnu gave. 
This bow I hold; before it fall 
The foeman's fenced tower and wall. 
Then prayed the Gods the Sire Most High 
By some unerring proof to try 
Were praise for might Lord Vishnu's due, 
Or his whose Neck is stained with Blue. 257 
The mighty Sire their wishes knew, 
And he whose lips are ever true 
Caused the two Gods to meet as foes. 
Then fierce the rage of battle rose: 
Bristled in dread each starting hair 
As Siva strove with Vishnu there. 
But Vishnu raised his voice amain. 
And Siva's bowstring twanged in vain; 
Its master of the Three bright Eyes 
Stood fixt in fury and surprise. 
Then all the dwellers in the sky, 
Minstrel, and saint, and God drew nigh, 
And prayed them that the strife might cease, 
And the great rivals met in peace. 

256 Siva. 

292 The Ramayana 

'Twas seen how Siva's bow has failed 
Unnerved, when Vishnu's might assailed, 
And Gods and heavenly sages thence 
To Vishnu gave preeminence. 
Then glorious Siva in his rage 
Gave it to Devarat the sage 
Who ruled Videha's fertile land, 
To pass it down from hand to hand. 
But this my bow, whose shafts smite down 
The foeman's fenced tower and town, 
To great Richfka Vishnu lent 
To be a pledge and ornament, 
Then Jamadagni, Brahman dread, 
My sire, the bow inherited. 
But Arjun stooped to treachery vile 
And slew my noble sire by guile, 
Whose penance awful strength had gained, 
[087] Whose hand the God-given bow retained. 

I heard indignant how he fell 
By mournful fate, too sad to tell. 
My vengeful fury since that time 
Scourges all Warriors for the crime. 
As generations spring to life 
I war them down in endless strife. 
All earth I brought beneath my sway, 
And gave it for his meed and pay 
To holy Kasyap, when of yore 
The rites performed by him were o'er. 
Then to Mahendra's hill I turned 
Strong in the strength that penance earned, 
And toiled upon his lofty head 
By Gods immortal visited. 
The breaking of the bow I knew 
From startled Gods conversing, through 

Canto LXXVI. Debarred From Heaven. 293 

The airy regions, of thy deed, 
And hither came with swiftest speed. 
Now, for thy Warrior's honour sake, 
This best of bows, O Rama, take: 
This, owned by Vishnu's self of old, 
My sire and grandsire loved to hold. 
Drawn to its head upon the string, 
One town-destroying arrow bring; 
If this thou can, O hero, I 
In single fight thy strength will try." 

Canto LXXVI. Debarred From Heaven. 

The haughty challenge, undeterred 

The son of Dasaratha heard, 

And cried, while reverence for his sire 

Checked the full torrent of his ire: 

"Before this day have I been told 

The deed that stained thy hands of old. 

But pity bids my soul forget: 

Thy father, murdered, claimed the debt. 

My strength, O Chief, thou deemest slight, 

Too feeble for a Warrior's might. 

Now will I show thy wondering eyes 

The prowess which they dare despise." 

294 The Ramayana 

He hastened then with graceful ease 
That mighty bow and shaft to seize. 
His hand the weapon strung and swayed: 
The arrow on the string was laid. 
Then Jamadagni's son he eyed, 
And thus in words of fury cried: 
"Thou art a Brahman, still to be 
Most highly honoured, Chief, by me. 
For Visvamitra's sake beside 
Shall reverence due be ne'er denied. 
Though mine the power, I would not send 
A dart at thee thy life to end. 
But thy great power to wander free, 
Which penance-rites have won for thee, 
Or glorious worlds from thee to wrest, 
Is the firm purpose of my breast, 
And Vishnu's dart which now I strain 
Can ne'er be shot to fall in vain: 
It strikes the mighty, and it stuns 
The madness of the haughty ones." 

Then Gods, and saints and heavenly choir 
Preceded by the General Sire, 
Met in the air and gazed below 
On Rama with that wondrous bow. 
Nymph, minstrel, angel, all were there, 
Snake-God, and spirit of the air, 
Giant, and bard, and gryphon, met, 
Their eyes upon the marvel set. 
In senseless hush the world was chained 
While Rama's hand the bow retained, 
And Jamadagni's son amazed 
And powerless on the hero gazed. 
Then when his swelling heart had shrunk, 

Canto LXXVI. Debarred From Heaven. 295 

And his proud strength in torpor sunk, 

Scarce his voice ventured, low and weak, 

To Rama lotus-eyed, to speak: 

"When long ago I gave away 

The whole broad land to Kasyap's sway 

He charged me never to remain 

Within the limits of his reign. 

Obedient to my guide's behest 

On earth by night I never rest. 

My choice is made, I will not dim 

Mine honour and be false to him. 

So, son of Raghu, leave me still 

The power to wander where I will, 

And swifter than the thought my flight 

Shall place me on Mahendra's height. 

My mansions of eternal joy, 

By penance won, thou mayst destroy, 

My path to these thy shaft may stay. 

Now to the work! No more delay! 

I know thee Lord of Gods; I know 

Thy changeless might laid Madhu low. 

All other hands would surely fail 

To bend this bow. All hail! all hail! 

See! all the Gods have left the skies 

To bend on thee their eager eyes, 

With whose achievements none compete, 

Whose arm in war no God can meet. 

No shame is mine, I ween, for thou, 

Lord of the Worlds, hast dimmed my brow. 

Now, pious Rama, 'tis thy part 

To shoot afar that glorious dart: 

I, when the fatal shaft is shot, 

Will seek that hill and tarry not." 

296 The Ramayana 

He ceased. The wondrous arrow flew, 
And Jamadagni's offspring knew 
Those glorious worlds to him were barred, 
Once gained by penance long and hard. 
Then straight the airy quarters cleared, 
And the mid regions bright appeared, 
While Gods and saints unnumbered praised 
Rama, the mighty bow who raised. 
And Jamadagni's son, o'erawed. 
[088] Extolled his name with highest laud, 

With reverent steps around him strode, 
Then hastened on his airy road. 
Far from the sight of all he fled, 
And rested on Mahendra's head. 

Canto LXXVII. Bharat's Departure. 

Then Rama with a cheerful mind 
The bow to Varun's hand resigned. 
Due reverence to the saints he paid, 
And thus addressed his sire dismayed: 
"As Bhrigu's son is far from view, 
Now let the host its march pursue, 
And to Ayodhya's town proceed 
In four-fold bands, with thee to lead." 

Canto LXXVII. Bharat's Departure. 297 

King Dasaratha thus addressed 
His lips to Rama's forehead pressed, 
And held him to his aged breast. 
Rejoiced in sooth was he to know 
That Bhrigu's son had parted so, 
And hailed a second life begun 
For him and his victorious son. 
He urged the host to speed renewed, 
And soon Ayodhya's gates he viewed. 
High o'er the roofs gay pennons played; 
Tabour and drum loud music made; 
Fresh water cooled the royal road, 
And flowers in bright profusion glowed. 
Glad crowds with garlands thronged the ways 
Rejoicing on their king to gaze 
And all the town was bright and gay 
Exalting in the festive day. 
People and Brahmans flocked to meet 
Their monarch ere he gained the street. 
The glorious king amid the throng 
Rode with his glorious sons along, 
And passed within his dear abode 
That like Himalaya's mountain showed. 
And there Kausalya, noble queen, 
Sumitra with her lovely mien, 
Kaikeyi of the dainty waist, 
And other dames his bowers who graced, 
Stood in the palace side by side 
And welcomed home each youthful bride: 
Fair Sita, lofty-fated dame, 
Urmila of the glorious fame, 
And Kusadhwaj's children fair, 
With joyous greeting and with prayer, 
As all in linen robes arrayed 

298 The Ramayana 

With offerings at the altars prayed. 
Due reverence paid to God above, 
Each princess gave her soul to love, 
And hidden in her inmost bower 
Passed with her lord each blissful hour. 
The royal youths, of spirit high, 
With whom in valor none could vie, 
Lived each within his palace bounds 
Bright as Kuvera's pleasure-grounds, 
With riches, troops of faithful friends, 
And bliss that wedded life attends: 
Brave princes trained in warlike skill, 
And duteous to their father's will. 
At length the monarch called one morn 
Prince Bharat, of Kaikeyi born, 
And cried: "My son, within our gates 
Lord Yudhajit thine uncle waits. 
The son of Kekaya's king is he, 
And came, my child, to summon thee." 

Then Bharat for the road prepared, 
And with Satrughna forth he fared. 
First to his sire he bade adieu, 
Brave Rama, and his mothers too. 
Lord Yudhajit with joyful pride 
Went forth, the brothers by his side, 
And reached the city where he dwelt: 
And mighty joy his father felt. 

Canto LXXVII. Bharat's Departure. 299 

Rama and Lakshman honoured still 
Their godlike sire with duteous will. 
Two constant guides for Rama stood, 
His father's wish, the people's good. 
Attentive to the general weal 
He thought and wrought to please and heal. 
His mothers too he strove to please 
With love and sonly courtesies. 
At every time, in every spot, 
His holy guides he ne'er forgot. 
So for his virtues kind and true 
Dearer and dearer Rama grew 
To Dasaratha, Brahmans, all 
In town and country, great and small. 
And Rama by his darling's side 
Saw many a blissful season glide, 
Lodged in her soul, each thought on her, 
Lover, and friend, and worshipper. 
He loved her for his father's voice 
Had given her and approved the choice: 
He loved her for each charm she wore 
And her sweet virtues more and more. 
So he her lord and second life 
Dwelt in the bosom of his wife, 
In double form, that, e'en apart, 
Each heart could commune free with heart. 

Still grew that child of Janak's race, 
More goddess-fair in form and face, 
The loveliest wife that e'er was seen, 
In mortal mould sweet Beauty's Queen. 
Then shone the son Kausalya bore, 

With this bright dame allied, 
Like Vishnu whom the Gods adore, 

300 The Ramayana 

With Lakshmi by his side. 



Canto I. The Heir Apparent. 

So Bharat to his grandsire went 
Obedient to the message sent, 
And for his fond companion chose 
Satrughna slayer of his foes. 258 
There Bharat for a time remained 
With love and honour entertained, 
King Asvapati's constant care, 
Beloved as a son and heir. 
Yet ever, as they lived at ease, 
While all around combined to please, 
The aged sire they left behind 
Was present to each hero's mind. 
Nor could the king's fond memory stray 
From his brave children far away, 
Dear Bharat and Satrughna dear, 
Each Varun's match or Indra's peer. 

258 Satrughna means slayer of foes, and the word is repeated as an intensive 

302 The Ramayana 

To all the princes, young and brave, 
His soul with fond affection clave; 
Around his loving heart they clung 
Like arms from his own body sprung. 259 
But best and noblest of the four, 
Good as the God whom all adore, 
Lord of all virtues, undefiled, 
His darling was his eldest child. 
For he was beautiful and strong, 
From envy free, the foe of wrong, 
With all his father's virtues blest, 
And peerless in the world confessed. 
With placid soul he softly spoke: 
No harsh reply could taunts provoke. 
He ever loved the good and sage 
Revered for virtue and for age, 
And when his martial tasks were o'er 
Sate listening to their peaceful lore. 
Wise, modest, pure, he honoured eld, 
His lips from lying tales withheld; 
Due reverence to the Brahmans gave, 
And ruled each passion like a slave. 
Most tender, prompt at duty's call, 
Loved by all men he loved them all. 
Proud of the duties of his race, 
With spirit meet for Warrior's place. 
He strove to win by glorious deed, 
Throned with the Gods, a priceless meed. 
With him in speech and quick reply 
Vrihaspati might hardly vie, 
But never would his accents flow 
For evil or for empty show. 

259 Alluding to the images of Vishnu, which have four arms, the four princes 
being portions of the substance of that God. 

Canto I. The Heir Apparent. 303 

In art and science duly trained, 

His student vow he well maintained; 

He learnt the lore for princes fit, 

The Vedas and their Holy Writ, 

And with his well-drawn bow at last 

His mighty father's fame surpassed. 

Of birth exalted, truthful, just, 

With vigorous hand, with noble trust, 

Well taught by aged twice-born men 

Who gain and right could clearly ken, 

Full well the claims and bounds he knew 

Of duty, gain, and pleasure too: 

Of memory keen, of ready tact, 

In civil business prompt to act. 

Reserved, his features ne'er disclosed 

What counsel in his heart reposed. 

All idle rage and mirth controlled, 

He knew the times to give and hold, 

Firm in his faith, of steadfast will, 

He sought no wrong, he spoke no ill: 

Not rashly swift, not idly slow, 

His faults and others' keen to know. 

Each merit, by his subtle sense; 

He matched with proper recompense. 

He knew the means that wealth provide, 

And with keen eye expense could guide. 

Wild elephants could he reclaim, 

And mettled steeds could mount and tame. 

No arm like his the bow could wield, 

Or drive the chariot to the field. 

Skilled to attack, to deal the blow, 

Or lead a host against the foe: 

Yea, e'en infuriate Gods would fear 

To meet his arm in full career. 

304 The Ramayana 

As the great sun in noontide blaze 
Is glorious with his world of rays, 
So Rama with these virtues shone 
Which all men loved to gaze upon. 

The aged monarch fain would rest, 
And said within his weary breast, 
"Oh that I might, while living yet, 
My Rama o'er the kingdom set. 
And see, before my course be run, 
The hallowed drops anoint my son; 
See all this spacious land obey, 
From side to side, my first-born's sway, 
And then, my life and joy complete, 
Obtain in heaven a blissful seat!" 
In him the monarch saw combined 
The fairest form, the noblest mind, 
And counselled how his son might share, 
The throne with him as Regent Heir. 
For fearful signs in earth and sky, 
And weakness warned him death was nigh: 
But Rama to the world endeared 
[090] By every grace his bosom cheered, 

The moon of every eye, whose ray 
Drove all his grief and fear away. 
So duty urged that hour to seize, 
Himself, his realm, to bless and please. 

From town and country, far and near, 
He summoned people, prince, and peer. 
To each he gave a meet abode, 
And honoured all and gifts bestowed. 
Then, splendid in his king's attire, 
He viewed them, as the general Sire, 

Canto II. The People's Speech. 305 

In glory of a God arrayed, 
Looks on the creatures he has made. 
But Kekaya's king he called not then 
For haste, nor Janak, lord of men; 
For after to each royal friend 
The joyful tidings he would send. 
Mid crowds from distant countries met 
The king upon his throne was set; 
Then honoured by the people, all 
The rulers thronged into the hall. 
On thrones assigned, each king in place 
Looked silent on the monarch's face. 

Then girt by lords of high renown 

And throngs from hamlet and from town 

He showed in regal pride, 
As, honoured by the radiant band 
Of blessed Gods that round him stand, 
Lord Indra, Thousand-eyed. 

Canto II. The People's Speech. 

Then to the full assembly bowed 
The monarch, and addressed the crowd 
With gracious speech, in accents loud 
As heavenly drum or thunder-cloud: 

306 The Ramayana 

"Needs not to you who know declare 
How ever with paternal care 
My fathers of Ikshvaku's line 
Have ruled the realm which now is mine. 
I too have taught my feet to tread 
The pathway of the mighty dead, 
And with fond care that never slept 
Have, as I could, my people kept. 
So toiling still, and ne'er remiss 
For all my people's weal and bliss, 
Beneath the white umbrella's 260 shade. 
Old age is come and strength decayed. 
Thousands of years have o'er me flown, 
And generations round me grown 
And passed away. I crave at length 
Repose and ease for broken strength. 
Feeble and worn I scarce can bear 
The ruler's toil, the judge's care, 
With royal dignity, a weight 
That tries the young and temperate. 
I long to rest, my labour done, 
And in my place to set my son, 
If to the twice-born gathered here 
My counsel wise and good appear. 
For greater gifts than mine adorn 
Rama my son, my eldest-born. 
Like Indra brave, before him fall 
The foeman's cities, tower and wall. 
Him prince of men for power and might, 
The best maintainer of the right, 
Fair as the moon when nothing bars 
His glory close to Pushya's stars, 

260 Chief of the insignia of imperial dignity. 

Canto II. The People's Speech. 307 

Him with to-morrow's light I fain 
Would throne the consort of my reign. 
A worthy lord for you, I ween, 
Marked as her own by Fortune's Queen. 
The triple world itself would be 
Well ruled by such a king as he. 
To such high bliss and happy fate 
Will I the country dedicate, 
And my sad heart will cease to grieve 
If he the precious charge receive. 
Thus is my careful plan matured, 
Thus for myself is rest secured; 
Lieges, approve the words I say, 
Or point ye out some wiser way. 
Devise your prudent plan. My mind 
Is fondly to this thought inclined, 
But men by keen debating move 
Some middle course which all approve." 

The monarch ceased. In answer came 
The joyous princes' glad acclaim. 
So peacocks in the rain rejoice 
And hail the cloud with lifted voice. 
Murmurs of joy from thousands round 
Shook the high palace with the sound. 
Then when the gathered throng had learned 
His will who right and gain discerned, 
Peasant and townsman, priest and chief, 
All met in consultation brief, 
And soon agreed with one accord 
Gave answer to their sovereign lord: 
"King of the land, we know thee old: 
Thousands of years have o'er thee rolled, 
Rama thy son, we pray, anoint, 

308 The Ramayana 

And at thy side his place appoint 
Our gallant prince, so brave and strong, 
Riding in royal state along, 
Our eyes with joyful pride will see 
Screened by the shade that shelters thee." 
Then spake the king again, as though 
Their hearts' true wish he sought to know: 
"These prayers for Rama's rule suggest 
One question to my doubting breast. 
This thing, I pray, with truth explain: 
Why would ye, while I justly reign, 
That he, mine eldest son, should bear 
His part with me as ruling heir?" 
Then all the people made reply, 
Peasant and townsman, low and high: 
[091] "Each noblest gift of form and mind, 

O Monarch, in thy son we find. 
Do thou the godlike virtues hear 
Which Rama to our hearts endear. 
So richly blest with graces, none 
In all the earth excels thy son: 
Nay, who to match with him may claim 
In truth, in justice, and in fame? 
True to his promise, gentle, kind, 
Unenvious, of grateful mind, 
Versed in the law and firm of soul, 
He keeps each sense with strict control. 
With duteous care he loves to sit 
By Brahmans skilled in Holy Writ. 
Hence brightest glory, ne'er to end, 
And matchless fame his youth attend. 
Skilled in the use of spear and shield, 
And arms which heavenly warriors wield, 
Supreme in war, unconquered yet 

Canto II. The People's Speech. 309 

By man, fiend, God in battle met, 

Whene'er in pomp of war he goes 

'Gainst town or city of the foes, 

He ever comes with Lakshman back 

Victorious from the fierce attack. 

Returning homeward from afar 

Borne on his elephant or car, 

He ever to the townsmen bends 

And greets them as beloved friends, 

Asks how each son, each servant thrives, 

How fare our pupils, offerings, wives; 

And like a father bids us tell, 

Each for himself, that all is well. 

If pain or grief the city tries 

His heart is swift to sympathize. 

When festive scenes our thoughts employ 

He like a father shares the joy. 

High is the fate, O King, that gave 

Thy Rama born to bless and save, 

With filial virtues fair and mild 

Like Kasyap old Marichi's child. 

Hence to the kingdom's distant ends 

One general prayer for him ascends. 

Each man in town and country prays 

For Rama's strength, health, length of days. 

With hearts sincere, their wish the same, 

The tender girl, the aged dame, 

Subject and stranger, peasant, hind, 

One thought impressed on every mind, 

At evening and at dawning day 

To all the Gods for Rama pray. 

Do thou, O King, of grace comply, 

And hear the people's longing cry, 

And let us on the throne by thee 

310 The Ramay ana 

The lotus-tinted Rama see. 

O thou who givest boons, attend; 
A gracious ear, O Monarch, lend 
And for our weal install, 
Consenting to our earnest prayer, 
Thy godlike Rama Regent Heir, 
Who seeks the good of all." 

Canto III. Dasaratha's Precepts. 

The monarch with the prayer complied 
Of suppliant hands, on every side 
Uplifted like a lotus-bed: 
And then these gracious words he said: 
"Great joy and mighty fame are mine 
Because your loving hearts incline, 
In full assembly clearly shown 
To place my Rama on the throne." 
Then to Vasishtha, standing near, 
And Vamadeva loud and clear 
The monarch spoke that all might hear: 
"Tis pure and lovely Chaitra now 
When flowers are sweet on every bough; 
All needful things with haste prepare 
That Rama be appointed heir." 

Canto III. Dasaratha's Precepts. 311 

Then burst the people's rapture out 
In loud acclaim and joyful shout; 
And when the tumult slowly ceased 
The king addressed the holy priest: 
"Give order, Saint, with watchful heed 
For what the coming rite will need. 
This day let all things ready wait 
Mine eldest son to consecrate." 
Best of all men of second birth 
Vasishtha heard the lord of earth, 
And gave commandment to the bands 
Of servitors with lifted hands 
Who waited on their master's eye: 
"Now by to-morrow's dawn supply 
Rich gold and herbs and gems of price 
And offerings for the sacrifice, 
Wreaths of white flowers and roasted rice, 
And oil and honey, separate; 
New garments and a car of state, 
An elephant with lucky signs, 
A fourfold host in ordered lines, 
The white umbrella, and a pair 
Of chowries, 261 and a banner fair; 
A hundred vases, row on row, 
To shine like fire in splendid glow, 
A tiger's mighty skin, a bull 
With gilded horns most beautiful. 
All these, at dawn of coming day, 
Around the royal shrine array, 
Where burns the fire's undying ray. 
Each palace door, each city gate 
With wreaths of sandal decorate. 

261 Whisks, usually made of the long tails of the Yak. 

312 The Ramayana 

And with the garlands' fragrant scent 
Let clouds of incense-smoke be blent. 
Let food of noble kind and taste 
Be for a hundred thousand placed; 
Fresh curds with streams of milk bedewed 
[092] To feed the Brahman multitude. 

With care be all their wants supplied. 
And mid the twice-born chiefs divide 
Rich largess, with the early morn, 
And oil and curds and roasted corn. 
Soon as the sun has shown his light 
Pronounce the prayer to bless the rite, 
And then be all the Brahmans called 
And in their ordered seats installed. 
Let all musicians skilled to play, 
And dancing-girls in bright array 
Stand ready in the second ring 
Within the palace of the king. 
Each honoured tree, each holy shrine 
With leaves and flowery wreaths entwine, 
And here and there beneath the shade 
Be food prepared and presents laid. 
Then brightly clad, in warlike guise, 
With long swords girt upon their thighs, 
Let soldiers of the nobler sort 
March to the monarch's splendid court." 

Thus gave command the twice-born pair 
To active servants stationed there. 
Then hastened to the king and said 
That all their task was duly sped, 
The king to wise Sumantra spake: 
"Now quick, my lord, thy chariot take, 
And hither with thy swiftest speed 

Canto III. Dasaratha's Precepts. 313 

My son, my noble Rama lead." 

Sumantra, ere the word was given, 
His chariot from the court had driven, 
And Rama, best of all who ride 
In cars, came sitting by his side. 
The lords of men had hastened forth 
From east and west and south and north, 
Aryan and stranger, those who dwell 
In the wild wood and on the fell, 
And as the Gods to Indra, they 
Showed honour to the king that day. 

Like Vasav, when his glorious form 
Is circled by the Gods of storm, 
Girt in his hall by kings he saw 
His car-borne Rama near him draw, 
Like him who rules the minstrel band 
Of heaven; 262 whose valour filled the land, 
Of mighty arm and stately pride 
Like a wild elephant in stride, 
As fair in face as that fair stone 
Dear to the moon, of moonbeams grown, 2 
With noble gifts and grace that took 
The hearts of all, and chained each look, 
World-cheering as the Lord of Rain 
When floods relieve the parching plain. 
The father, as the son came nigh, 
Gazed with an ever-thirstier eye. 
Sumantra helped the prince alight 
From the good chariot passing bright, 

262 Chitraratha, King of the Gandharvas. 

263 The Chandrakanta or Moonstone, a sort of crystal supposed to be composed 
of congealed moonbeams. 

314 The Ramayana 

And as to meet his sire he went 

Followed behind him reverent. 

Then Rama clomb, the king to seek 

That terrace like Kailasa's peak, 

And reached the presence of the king, 

Sumantra closely following. 

Before his father's face he came, 

Raised suppliant hands and named his name, 264 

And bowing lowly as is meet 

Paid reverence to the monarch's feet. 

But soon as Dasaratha viewed 

The prince in humble attitude, 

He raised him by the hand in haste 

And his beloved son embraced, 

Then signed him to a glorious throne, 

Gem-decked and golden, near his own. 

Then Rama, best of Raghu's line, 

Made the fair seat with lustre shine 

As when the orient sun upsprings 

And his pure beam on Meru flings. 

The glory flashed on roof and wall, 

And with strange sheen suffused the hall, 

As when the moon's pure rays are sent 

Through autumn's star-lit firmament. 

Then swelled his breast with joy and pride 

As his dear son the father eyed, 

E'en as himself more fair arrayed 

In some clear mirror's face displayed. 

The aged monarch gazed awhile, 

Then thus addressed him with a smile, 

As Kasyap, whom the worlds revere, 

Speaks for the Lord of Gods to hear: 

264 A customary mark of respect to a superior. 

Canto III. Dasaratha's Precepts. 315 

"O thou of all my sons most dear, 

In virtue best, thy father's peer, 

Child of my consort first in place, 

Mine equal in her pride of race, 

Because the people's hearts are bound 

To thee by graces in thee found, 

Be thou in Pushya's favouring hour 

Made partner of my royal power. 

I know that thou by nature's bent 

Both modest art and excellent, 

But though thy gifts no counsel need 

My love suggests the friendly rede. 

Mine own dear son, be modest still, 

And rule each sense with earnest will. 

Keep thou the evils far away 

That spring from love and anger's sway. 

Thy noble course alike pursue 

In secret as in open view, 

And every nerve, the love to gain 

Of ministers and subjects, strain. 

The happy prince who sees with pride 

His thriving people satisfied; 

Whose arsenals with arms are stored, 

And treasury with golden hoard, — [093] 

His friends rejoice as joyed the Blest 

When Amrit crowned their eager quest. 

So well, my child, thy course maintain, 

And from all ill thy soul refrain." 

The friends of Rama, gathered nigh, 
Longing their lord to gratify, 
Ran to Kausalya's bower to tell 
The tidings that would please her well. 
She, host of dames, with many a gem, 

316 The Ramayana 

And gold, and kine rewarded them. 

Then Rama paid the reverence due, 
Mounted the chariot, and withdrew, 
And to his splendid dwelling drove 
While crowds to show him honour strove. 
The people, when the monarch's speech 

Their willing ears had heard, 
Were wild with joy as though on each 

Great gifts had been conferred. 
With meek and low salute each man 

Turned to his home away, 
And there with happy heart began 
To all the Gods to pray. 

Canto IV. Rama Summoned. 

The crowd dismissed, to high debate 
The monarch called his peers of state, 
And, counsel from their lips obtained, 
Firm in his will his will explained: 
"To-morrow with auspicious ray 
The moon in Pushy a's sign will stay; 
Be that the time with happy fate 
Mine eldest son to consecrate, 
And let my Rama, lotus-eyed, 
As Regent o'er the state preside." 

Canto IV. Rama Summoned. 317 

He sought, within, his charioteer, 
And cried "Again bring Rama here." 
To Rama's home Sumantra hied 
Again to be the prince's guide. 
His coming, told to Rama's ear, 
Suggested anxious doubt and fear. 
He bade the messenger be led 
That instant in, and thus he said: 
"Tell me the cause, omitting naught, 
Why thou again my house hast sought." 

The envoy answered: "Prince, thy sire 
Has sent thy presence to require. 
My sender known, 'tis thine to say 
If thou wilt go or answer nay." 
Then Rama, when he heard his speech, 
Made haste the royal court to reach. 
Soon as the monarch was aware 
His dearest son was waiting there, 
Eager the parley to begin 
He bade them lead the prince within, 
Soon as he passed the chamber door 
The hero bent him to the floor, 
And at a distance from his seat 
Raised his joined hands his sire to greet. 
The monarch raised him from the ground, 
And loving arms about him wound, 
Then pointed to a seat that shone 
With gold for him to rest upon. 
"Aged am I," he said, "and worn; 
In life's best joys my share have borne; 
Rites to the Gods, in hundreds, paid, 
With gifts of corn and largess made. 
I yearned for sons: my life is blest 

318 The Ramayana 

With them and thee of sons the best. 
No debt to saints or Brahmans, no, 
Nor spirits, Gods, or self I owe. 
One duty now remains alone, 
To set thee on thy father's throne. 
Now therefore, Rama, hear my rede, 
And mark my words with duteous heed: 
This day the peoples' general voice, 
Elects thee king of love and choice, 
And I, consenting to the prayer, 
Will make thee, darling, Regent Heir. 
Dread visions, each returning night, 
With evil omens scare my sight. 
Red meteors with a fearful sound 
Shoot wildly downward to the ground, 
While tempests lash the troubled air; 
And they who read the stars declare 
That, leagued against my natal sign, 
Rahu, 265 the Sun, 266 and Mars combine. 
When portents dire as these appear, 
A monarch's death or woe is near. 
Then while my senses yet are spared, 
And thought and will are unimpaired, 
Be thou, my son, anointed king: 
Men's fancy is a fickle thing. 
To-day the moon, in order due, 
Entered the sign Punarvasu, 267 
To-morrow, as the wise foretell, 

265 Rahu, the ascending node, is in mythology a demon with the tail of a dragon 
whose head was severed from his body by Vishnu, but being immortal, the 
head and tail retained their separate existence and being transferred to the stellar 
sphere became the authors of eclipses; the first especially by endeavouring to 
swallow the sun and moon. 

266 In eclipse. 

Canto IV. Rama Summoned. 319 

In Pushy a's favouring stars will dwell: 

Then on the throne shalt thou be placed. 

My soul, prophetic, counsels haste: 

Thee, O my son, to-morrow I 

As Regent Heir will sanctify. 

So till the coming night be passed 

Do thou and Sita strictly fast: 

From worldly thoughts thy soul refrain, 

And couched on holy grass remain. [094] 

And let thy trusted lords attend 

In careful watch upon their friend, 

For, unexpected, check and bar 

Our weightiest counsels often mar. 

While Bharat too is far away 

Making with royal kin his stay, 

I deem the fittest time of all 

Thee, chosen Regent, to install. 

It may be Bharat still has stood 

True to the counsels of the good, 

Faithful to thee with tender trust, 

With governed senses, pure and just. 

But human minds, too well I know, 

Will sudden changes undergo, 

And by their constant deeds alone 

The virtue of the good is shown. 

Now, Rama, go. My son, good night! 

Fixt is to-morrow for the rite." 

Then Rama paid the reverence due, 
And quickly to his home withdrew. 
He passed within, nor lingered there, 
But sought his mother's mansion, where 
The dame in linen robes arrayed 
Devoutly in the chapel prayed 

320 The Ramayana 

To Fortune's Queen, with utterance checked, 
That she her Rama would protect. 
There was Sumitra too, and there 
Was Lakshman led by loving care: 
And when the royal choice they knew 
Sita in haste was summoned too. 
Absorbed, with half-shut eyes, the queen 
Attended by the three was seen. 
She knew that Pushya's lucky hour 
Would raise her son to royal power, 
So fixed with bated breath each thought 
On God supreme, by all men sought. 
To her, as thus she knelt and prayed, 
Rama drew near, due reverence paid, 
And then to swell his mother's joy, 
Thus spoke her own beloved boy; 
"O mother dear, my sire's decree 
Entrusts the people's weal to me. 
To-morrow I, for so his will, 
Anointed king, the throne shall fill. 
The few last hours till night shall end 
Sita with me must fasting spend, 
For so my father has decreed, 
And holy priests with him agreed. 
What vows soever thou mayst deem 
My consecration's eve beseem, 
Do thou, sweet mother, for my sake 
And for beloved Sita's make." 

When the glad news Kausalya heard, 
So long desired, so long deferred, 
While tears of joy her utterance broke, 
In answer to her son she spoke: 
"Long be thy life, my darling: now 

Canto IV. Rama Summoned. 321 

Thy prostrate foes before thee bow. 
Live long and with thy bright success 
My friends and dear Sumitra's bless. 
Surely the stars were wondrous fair 
When thee, sweet son, thy mother bare, 
That thy good gifts such love inspire 
And win the favour of thy sire. 
With thee I travailed not in vain; 
Those lotus eyes reward my pain, 
And all the glory of the line 
Of old Ikshvaku will be thine." 

He smiled, and on his brother gazed 
Who sate with reverent hands upraised, 
And said: "My brother, thou must be 
Joint-ruler of this land with me. 
My second self thou, Lakshman, art, 
And in my fortune bearest part. 
Be thine, Sumitra's son, to know 
The joys from regal power that flow. 
My life itself, the monarch's seat, 
For thy dear sake to me are sweet." 

Thus Rama to his brother said, 
To both his mothers 268 bowed his head, 
And then with Sita by his side 
To his own house the hero hied. 

268 Kausalya and Sumitra. 

322 The Ramayana 

Canto V. Rama's Fast. 

Then Saint Vasishtha to the king 

Came ready at his summoning. 

"Now go," exclaimed the monarch, "thou 

Enriched by fervent rite and vow, 

For Rama and his wife ordain 

The fast, that joy may bless his reign." 

The best of those who Scripture know 
Said to the king, "My lord, I go." 
To Rama's house Vasishtha hied, 
The hero's fast by rule to guide, 
And skilled in sacred texts to tell 
Each step to him instructed well. 
Straight to Prince Rama's high abode, 
That like a cloud pale-tinted showed, 
Borne in his priestly car he rode. 
Two courts he passed, and in the third 
He stayed his car. Then Rama heard 
The holy sage was come, and flew 
To honour him with honour due. 
He hastened to the car and lent 
His hand to aid the priest's descent. 
Then spoke Vasishtha words like these, 
Pleased with his reverent courtesies, 
With pleasant things his heart to cheer 
Who best deserved glad news to hear: 
"Prince, thou hast won thy father's grace, 
And thine will be the Regent's place: 
Now with thy Sita, as is right, 
[095] In strictest fasting spend the night, 

Canto V. Rama's Fast. 323 

For when the morrow's dawn is fair 
The king will consecrate his heir: 
So Nahush, 269 as the wise relate, 
Yayati joyed to consecrate." 

Thus having said, Vasishtha next 
Ordained the fast by rule and text, 
For Rama faithful to his vows 
And the Videhan dame his spouse. 
Then from the prince's house he hied 
With courteous honours gratified. 
Round Rama gathered every friend 
In pleasant talk a while to spend. 
He bade good night to all at last, 
And to his inner chamber passed. 
Then Rama's house shone bright and gay 
With men and maids in glad array, 
As in the morning some fair lake 
When all her lotuses awake, 
And every bird that loves the flood 
Flits joyous round each opening bud. 

Forth from the house Vasishtha drove, 
That with the king's in splendour strove, 
And all the royal street he viewed 
Filled with a mighty multitude 
The eager concourse blocked each square, 
Each road and lane and thoroughfare, 
And joyous shouts on every side 
Rose like the roar of Ocean's tide, 
As streams of men together came 
With loud huzza and glad acclaim. 
The ways were watered, swept and clean, 

269 A king of the Lunar race, and father of Yayati. 

324 The Ramayana 

And decked with flowers and garlands green 
And all Ayodhya shone arrayed 
With banners on the roofs that played. 
Men, women, boys with eager eyes, 
Expecting when the sun should rise, 
Stood longing for the herald ray 
Of Rama's consecration day, 
To see, a source of joy to all, 
The people-honoured festival. 

The priest advancing slowly through 
The mighty crowd he cleft in two, 
Near to the monarch's palace drew. 
He sought the terrace, by the stair, 
Like a white cloud-peak high in air, 
The reverend king of men to meet 
Who sate upon his splendid seat: 
Thus will Vrihaspati arise 
To meet the monarch of the skies. 
But when the king his coming knew, 
He left his throne and near him drew 
Questioned by him Vasishtha said 
That all his task was duly sped. 
Then all who sate there, honouring 
Vasishtha, rose as rose the king. 
Vasishtha bade his lord adieu, 
And all the peers, dismissed, withdrew. 
Then as a royal lion seeks 
His cave beneath the rocky peaks, 
So to the chambers where abode 
His consorts Dasaratha strode. 

Full-thronged were those delightful bowers 
With women richly dressed, 

And splendid as the radiant towers 

Canto VI. The City Decorated. 325 

Where Indra loves to rest. 
Then brighter flashed a thousand eyes 

With the light his presence lent, 
As, when the moon begins to rise 

The star thronged firmament. 

Canto VI. The City Decorated. 

Then Rama bathed in order due, 

His mind from worldly thoughts withdrew, 

And with his large-eyed wife besought 

Narayan, as a votary ought. 

Upon his head the brimming cup 

Of holy oil he lifted up, 

Then placed within the kindled fire 

The offering to that heavenly Sire, 

And as he sipped the remnant prayed 

To Him for blessing and for aid. 

Then with still lips and tranquil mind 

With his Videhan he reclined, 

In Vishnu's chapel, on a bed 

Where holy grass was duly spread, 

While still the prince's every thought 

The God supreme, Narayan, sought. 

One watch remained the night to close 

When Rama from his couch arose, 

And bade the men and maids adorn 

His palace for the solemn morn. 

He heard the bards and heralds raise 

Auspicious strains of joy and praise; 

And breathed devout, with voice restrained, 

326 The Ramayana 

The hymn for morning rites ordained; 
Then, with his head in reverence bowed, 
Praised Madhu's conquering foe aloud, 
And, in pure linen robes arrayed, 
The priests to raise their voices prayed. 
Obedient to the summons they 
Proclaimed to all the festal day. 
The Brahmans' voices, deep and sweet, 
Resounded through the crowded street, 
And echoed through Ayodhya went 
By many a loud-toned instrument. 
Then all the people joyed to hear 
That Rama with his consort dear 
Had fasted till the morning light 
In preparation for the rite. 
Swiftly the joyful tidings through 
Ayodhya's crowded city flew, 
And soon as dawn appeared, each man 
[096] To decorate the town began. 

In all the temples bright and fair 

As white clouds towering in the air, 

In streets, and where the cross-ways met, 

Where holy fig-trees had been set, 

In open square, in sacred shade, 

Where merchants' shops their wealth displayed, 

On all the mansions of the great, 

And householders of wealth and state, 

Where'er the people loved to meet, 

Where'er a tree adorned the street, 

Gay banners floated to the wind, 

And ribands round the staves were twined. 

Then clear the singers' voices rang, 

As, charming mind and ear, they sang. 

Here players shone in bright attire, 

Canto VI. The City Decorated. 327 

There dancing women swelled the quire. 
Each with his friend had much to say 
Of Rama's consecration-day: 
Yea, even children, as they played 
At cottage doors beneath the shade. 
The royal street with flowers was strown 
Which loving hands in heaps had thrown, 
And here and there rich incense lent 
Its fragrance to the garland's scent; 
And all was fresh and fair and bright 
In honour of the coming rite. 
With careful foresight to illume 
With borrowed blaze the midnight gloom, 
The crowds erected here and there 
Trees in each street gay lamps to bear. 
The city thus from side to side 
In festal guise was beautified. 
The people of the town who longed 
To view the rite together thronged, 
And filling every court and square 
Praised the good king in converse there: 
"Our high-souled king! He throws a grace 
On old Ikshvaku's royal race. 
He feels his years' increasing weight, 
And makes his son associate. 
Great joy to us the choice will bring 
Of Rama for our lord and king. 
The good and bad to him are known, 
And long will he protect his own. 
No pride his prudent breast may swell, 
Most just, he loves his brothers well, 
And to us all that love extends, 
Cherished as brothers and as friends. 
Long may our lord in life remain, 

328 The Ramayana 

Good Dasaratha, free from stain, 
By whose most gracious favour we 
Rama anointed king shall see." 

Such were the words the townsmen spoke 
Heard by the gathering countryfolk, 
Who from the south, north, east, and west, 
Stirred by the joyful tidings, pressed. 
For by their eager longing led 
To Rama's consecration sped 
The villagers from every side, 
And filled Ayodhya's city wide. 
This way and that way strayed the crowd, 
While rose a murmur long and loud, 
As when the full moon floods the skies 
And Ocean's waves with thunder rise. 

That town, like Indra's city fair, 
While peasants thronged her ways, 

Tumultuous roared like Ocean, where 
Each flood-born monster plays. 

Canto VII. Manthara's Lament. 

It chanced a slave-born handmaid, bred 
With Queen Kaikeyi, fancy-led, 
Mounted the stair and stood upon 
The terrace like the moon that shone. 
Thence Manthara at ease surveyed 
Ayodhya to her eyes displayed, 
Where water cooled the royal street, 
Where heaps of flowers were fresh and sweet, 

Canto VII. Manthara's Lament. 329 

And costly flags and pennons hung 
On roof and tower their shadow flung; 
With covered ways prepared in haste, 
And many an awning newly placed; 
With sandal-scented streams bedewed, 
Thronged by a new bathed multitude: 
Whose streets were full of Brahman bands 
With wreaths and sweetmeats in their hands. 
Loud instruments their music raised, 
And through the town, where'er she gazed, 
The doors of temples glittered white, 
And the maid marvelled at the sight. 

Of Rama's nurse who, standing by, 
Gazed with a joy-expanded eye, 
In robes of purest white attired, 
The wondering damsel thus inquired: 

"Does Rama's mother give away 
Rich largess to the crowds to-day, 
On some dear object fondly bent, 
Or blest with measureless content? 
What mean these signs of rare delight 
On every side that meet my sight? 
Say, will the king with joy elate 
Some happy triumph celebrate?" 

330 The Ramayana 

The nurse, with transport uncontrolled, 
Her glad tale to the hump-back told: 
"Our lord the king to-morrow morn 
Will consecrate his eldest-born, 
And raise, in Pushya's favouring hour, 
Prince Rama to the royal power." 
As thus the nurse her tidings spoke, 
Rage in the hump-back's breast awoke. 
Down from the terrace, like the head 
Of high Kailasa's hill, she sped. 
Sin in her thoughts, her soul aflame, 
[097] Where Queen Kaikeyi slept, she came: 

"Why sleepest thou?" she cried, "arise, 
Peril is near, unclose thine eyes. 
Ah, heedless Queen, too blind to know 
What floods of sin above thee flow ! 
Thy boasts of love and grace are o'er: 
Thine is the show and nothing more. 
His favour is an empty cheat, 
A torrent dried by summer's heat." 

Thus by the artful maid addressed 
In cruel words from raging breast, 
The queen, sore troubled, spoke in turn; 
"What evil news have I to learn? 
That mournful eye, that altered cheek 
Of sudden woe or danger speak." 

Such were the words Kaikeyi said: 
Then Manthara, her eyeballs red 
With fury, skilled with treacherous art 
To grieve yet more her lady's heart, 
From Rama, in her wicked hate, 
Kaikeyi's love to alienate, 

Canto VII. Manthara's Lament. 331 

Upon her evil purpose bent 

Began again most eloquent: 

"Peril awaits thee swift and sure, 

And utter woe defying cure; 

King Dasaratha will create 

Prince Rama Heir Associate. 

Plunged in the depths of wild despair, 

My soul a prey to pain and care, 

As though the flames consumed me, zeal 

Has brought me for my lady's weal, 

Thy grief, my Queen, is grief to me: 

Thy gain my greatest gain would be. 

Proud daughter of a princely line, 

The rights of consort queen are thine. 

How art thou, born of royal race, 

Blind to the crimes that kings debase? 

Thy lord is gracious, to deceive, 

And flatters, but thy soul to grieve, 

While thy pure heart that thinks no sin 

Knows not the snares that hem thee in. 

Thy husband's lips on thee bestow 

Soft soothing word, an empty show: 

The wealth, the substance, and the power 

This day will be Kausalya's dower. 

With crafty soul thy child he sends 

To dwell among thy distant friends, 

And, every rival far from sight, 

To Rama gives the power and might. 

Ah me! for thou, unhappy dame, 

Deluded by a husband's name, 

With more than mother's love hast pressed 

A serpent to thy heedless breast, 

And cherished him who works thee woe, 

No husband but a deadly foe. 

332 The Ramayana 

For like a snake, unconscious Queen, 

Or enemy who stabs unseen, 

King Dasaratha all untrue 

Has dealt with thee and Bharat too. 

Ah, simple lady, long beguiled 

By his soft words who falsely smiled! 

Poor victim of the guileless breast, 

A happier fate thou meritest. 

For thee and thine destruction waits 

When he Prince Rama consecrates. 

Up, lady, while there yet is time; 

Preserve thyself, prevent the crime. 

Up, from thy careless ease, and free 

Thyself, O Queen, thy son, and me!" 

Delighted at the words she said, 
Kaikeyi lifted from the bed, 
Like autumn's moon, her radiant head, 
And joyous at the tidings gave 
A jewel to the hump-back slave; 
And as she gave the precious toy 
She cried in her exceeding joy: 
"Take this, dear maiden, for thy news 
Most grateful to mine ear, and choose 
What grace beside most fitly may 
The welcome messenger repay. 
I joy that Rama gains the throne: 
Kausalya's son is as mine own." 

Canto VIII. Manthara's Speech. 

Canto VIII. Manthara's Speech. 333 

The damsel's breast with fury burned: 

She answered, as the gift she spurned: 

"What time, O simple Queen, is this 

For idle dreams of fancied bliss? 

Hast thou not sense thy state to know, 

Engulfed in seas of whelming woe; 

Sick as I am with grief and pain 

My lips can scarce a laugh restrain 

To see thee hail with ill-timed joy 

A peril mighty to destroy. 

I mourn for one so fondly blind: 

What woman of a prudent mind 

Would welcome, e'en as thou hast done, 

The lordship of a rival's son, 

Rejoiced to find her secret foe 

Empowered, like death, to launch the blow; 

I see that Rama still must fear 

Thy Bharat, to his throne too near. 

Hence is my heart disquieted, 

For those who fear are those we dread. 

Lakshman, the mighty bow who draws, 

With all his soul serves Rama's cause; 

And chains as strong to Bharat bind 

Satrughna, with his heart and mind, 

Now next to Rama, lady fair, 

Thy Bharat is the lawful heir: 

And far remote, I ween, the chance 

That might the younger two advance. 

Yes, Queen, 'tis Rama that I dread, 

Wise, prompt, in warlike science bred; 

And oh, I tremble when I think 

Of thy dear child on ruin's brink. [098] 

Blest with a lofty fate is she, 

Kausalya; for her son will be 

334 The Ramayana 

Placed, when the moon and Pushya meet, 
By Brahmans on the royal seat, 
Thou as a slave in suppliant guise 
Must wait upon Kausalya's eyes, 
With all her wealth and bliss secured 
And glorious from her foes assured. 
Her slave with us who serve thee, thou 
Wilt see thy son to Rama bow, 
And Sita's friends exult o'er all, 
While Bharat's wife shares Bharat's fall." 

As thus the maid in wrath complained, 
Kaikeyi saw her heart was pained, 
And answered eager in defence 
Of Rama's worth and excellence: 
"Nay, Rama, born the monarch's heir, 
By holy fathers trained with care, 
Virtuous, grateful, pure, and true, 
Claims royal sway as rightly due. 
He, like a sire, will long defend 
Each brother, minister, and friend. 
Then why, O hump-back, art thou pained 
To hear that he the throne has gained? 
Be sure when Rama's empire ends, 
The kingdom to my son descends, 
Who, when a hundred years are flown, 
Shall sit upon his fathers' throne. 
Why is thine heart thus sad to see 
The joy that is and long shall be, 
This fortune by possession sure 
And hopes which we may count secure? 
Dear as the darling son I bore 
Is Rama, yea, or even more. 
Most duteous to Kausalya, he 

Canto VIII. Manthara's Speech. 335 

Is yet more dutiful to me. 
What though he rule, we need not fear: 
His brethren to his soul are dear. 
And if the throne Prince Rama fill 
Bharat will share the empire still." 

She ceased. The troubled damsel sighed 
Sighs long and hot, and thus replied: 
"What madness has possessed thy mind, 
To warnings deaf, to dangers blind? 
Canst thou not see the floods of woe 
That threaten o'er thine head to flow: 
First Rama will the throne acquire, 
Then Rama's son succeed his sire, 
While Bharat will neglected pine 
Excluded from the royal line. 
Not all his sons, O lady fair, 
The kingdom of a monarch share: 
All ruling when a sovereign dies 
Wild tumult in the state would rise. 
The eldest, be he good or ill, 
Is ruler by the father's will. 
Know, tender mother, that thy son 
Without a friend and all undone, 
Far from the joyous ease of home 
An alien from his race will roam. 
I sped to thee for whom I feel, 
But thy fond heart mistakes my zeal, 
Thy hand a present would bestow 
Because thy rival triumphs so. 
When Rama once begins his sway 
Without a foe his will to stay, 
Thy darling Bharat he will drive 
To distant lands if left alive. 

336 The Ramayana 

By thee the child was sent away 

Beneath his grandsire's roof to stay. 

Even in stocks and stones perforce 

Will friendship spring from intercourse. 

The young Satrughna too would go 

With Bharat, for he loved him so. 

As Lakshman still to Rama cleaves, 

He his dear Bharat never leaves. 

There is an ancient tale they tell: 

A tree the foresters would fell 

Was saved by reeds that round it stood, 

For love that sprang of neighbourhood. 

So Lakshman Rama will defend, 

And each on each for aid depend. 

Such fame on earth their friendship wins 

As that which binds the Heavenly Twins. 

And Rama ne'er will purpose wrong 

To Lakshman, for their love is strong. 

But Bharat, Oh, of this be sure, 

Must evil at his hands endure. 

Come, Rama from his home expel 

An exile in the woods to dwell. 

The plan, O Queen, which I advise 

Secures thy weal if thou be wise. 

So we and all thy kith and kin 

Advantage from thy gain shall win. 

Shall Bharat, meet for happier fate, 

Born to endure his rival's hate, 

With all his fortune ruined cower 

And dread his brother's mightier power! 

Up, Queen, to save thy son, arise; 

Prostrate at Rama's feet he lies. 

So the proud elephant who leads 

His trooping consorts through the reeds 

Canto IX. The Plot. 337 

Falls in the forest shade beneath 
The lion's spring and murderous teeth. 
Scorned by thee in thy bliss and pride 
Kausalya was of old defied, 
And will she now forbear to show 
The vengeful rancour of a foe? 

O Queen, thy darling is undone 

When Rama's hand has once begun 
Ayodhya's realm to sway, 

Come, win the kingdom for thy child 

And drive the alien to the wild 
In banishment to-day." 

Canto IX. The Plot. 

As fury lit Kaikeyi's eyes 

She spoke with long and burning sighs: [099] 

"This day my son enthroned shall see, 

And Rama to the woods shall flee. 

But tell me, damsel, if thou can, 

A certain way, a skilful plan 

That Bharat may the empire gain, 

And Rama's hopes be nursed in vain." 

The lady ceased. The wicked maid 
The mandate of her queen obeyed, 
And darkly plotting Rama's fall 
Responded to Kaikeyi's call. 

338 The Ramayana 

"I will declare, do thou attend, 
How Bharat may his throne ascend. 
Dost thou forget what things befell? 
Or dost thou feign, remembering well? 
Or wouldst thou hear my tongue repeat 
A story for thy need so meet? 
Gay lady, if thy will be so, 
Now hear the tale of long ago, 
And when my tongue has done its part 
Ponder the story in thine heart. 
When Gods and demons fought of old, 
Thy lord, with royal saints enrolled, 
Sped to the war with thee to bring 
His might to aid the Immortals' King. 
Far to the southern land he sped 
Where Dandak's mighty wilds are spread, 
To Vaijayanta's city swayed 
By Sambara, whose flag displayd 
The hugest monster of the sea. 
Lord of a hundred wiles was be; 
With might which Gods could never blame 
Against the King of Heaven he came. 
Then raged the battle wild and dread, 
And mortal warriors fought and bled; 
The fiends by night with strength renewed 
Charged, slew the sleeping multitude. 
Thy lord, King Dasaratha, long 
Stood fighting with the demon throng, 
But long of arm, unmatched in strength, 
Fell wounded by their darts at length. 
Thy husband, senseless, by thine aid 
Was from the battle field conveyed, 
And wounded nigh to death thy lord 
Was by thy care to health restored. 

Canto IX. The Plot. 339 

Well pleased the grateful monarch sware 

To grant thy first and second prayer. 

Thou for no favour then wouldst sue, 

The gifts reserved for season due; 

And he, thy high-souled lord, agreed 

To give the boons when thou shouldst need. 

Myself I knew not what befell, 

But oft the tale have heard thee tell, 

And close to thee in friendship knit 

Deep in my heart have treasured it. 

Remind thy husband of his oath, 

Recall the boons and claim them both, 

That Bharat on the throne be placed 

With rites of consecration graced, 

And Rama to the woods be sent 

For twice seven years of banishment. 

Go, Queen, the mourner's chamber 270 seek, 

With angry eye and burning cheek; 

And with disordered robes and hair 

On the cold earth lie prostrate there. 

When the king comes still mournful lie, 

Speak not a word nor meet his eye, 

But let thy tears in torrent flow, 

And lie enamoured of thy woe. 

Well do I know thou long hast been, 

And ever art, his darling queen. 

For thy dear sake, O well-loved dame, 

The mighty king would brave the flame, 

But ne'er would anger thee, or brook 

To meet his favourite's wrathful look. 

Thy loving lord would even die 

270 Literally the chamber of wrath, a "growlery," a small, dark, unfurnished 
room to which it seems, the wives and ladies of the king betook themselves 
when offended and sulky. 

340 The Ramayana 

Thy fancy, Queen, to gratify, 
And never could he arm his breast 
To answer nay to thy request. 
Listen and learn, O dull of sense, 
Thine all-resistless influence. 
Gems he will offer, pearls and gold: 
Refuse his gifts, be stern and cold. 
Those proffered boons at length recall, 
And claim them till he grants thee all. 
And O my lady, high in bliss, 
With heedful thought forget not this. 
When from the ground his queen he lifts 
And grants again the promised gifts, 
Bind him with oaths he cannot break 
And thy demands unflnching, make. 
That Rama travel to the wild 
Five years and nine from home exiled, 
And Bharat, best of all who reign, 
The empire of the land obtain. 
For when this term of years has fled 
Over the banished Rama's head, 
Thy royal son to vigour grown 
And rooted firm will stand alone. 
The king, I know, is well inclined, 
And this the hour to move his mind. 
Be bold: the threatened rite prevent, 
And force the king from his intent." 

She ceased. So counselled to her bane 
Disguised beneath a show of gain, 
Kaikeyi in her joy and pride 
To Manthara again replied: 
"Thy sense I envy, prudent maid; 
With sagest lore thy lids persuade. 

Canto IX. The Plot. 341 

No hump-back maid in all the earth, 

For wise resolve, can match thy worth. 

Thou art alone with constant zeal 

Devoted to thy lady's weal. 

Dear girl, without thy faithful aid 

I had not marked the plot he laid. [ioo] 

Full of all guile and sin and spite 

Misshapen hump-backs shock the sight: 

But thou art fair and formed to please, 

Bent like a lily by the breeze. 

I look thee o'er with watchful eye, 

And in thy frame no fault can spy; 

The chest so deep, the waist so trim, 

So round the lines of breast and limb. 271 

Thy cheeks with moonlike beauty shine, 

And the warm wealth of youth is thine. 

Thy legs, my girl, are long and neat, 

And somewhat long thy dainty feet, 

While stepping out before my face 

Thou seemest like a crane to pace. 

The thousand wiles are in thy breast 

Which Sambara the fiend possessed, 

And countless others all thine own, 

O damsel sage, to thee are known. 

Thy very hump becomes thee too, 

O thou whose face is fair to view, 

For there reside in endless store 

Plots, wizard wiles, and warrior lore. 

A golden chain I'll round it fling 

When Rama's flight makes Bharat king: 

Yea, polished links of finest gold, 

When once the wished for prize I hold 

271 In these four lines I do not translate faithfully, and I do not venture to follow 
Kaikeyi farther in her eulogy of the hump-back's charms. 

342 The Ramayana 

With naught to fear and none to hate, 
Thy hump, dear maid, shall decorate. 
A golden frontlet wrought with care, 
And precious jewels shalt thou wear: 
Two lovely robes around thee fold, 
And walk a Goddess to behold, 
Bidding the moon himself compare 
His beauty with a face so fair. 
With scent of precious sandal sweet 
Down to the nails upon thy feet, 
First of the household thou shalt go 
And pay with scorn each battled foe." 

Kaikeyi's praise the damsel heard, 
And thus again her lady stirred, 
Who lay upon her beauteous bed 
Like fire upon the altar fed: 
"Dear Queen, they build the bridge in vain 
When swollen streams are dry again. 
Arise, thy glorious task complete, 
And draw the king to thy retreat." 

The large-eyed lady left her bower 
Exulting in her pride of power, 
And with the hump-back sought the gloom 
And silence of the mourner's room. 
The string of priceless pearls that hung 
Around her neck to earth she flung, 
With all the wealth and lustre lent 
By precious gem and ornament. 
Then, listening to her slave's advice, 
Lay, like a nymph from Paradise. 
As on the ground her limbs she laid 
Once more she cried unto the maid: 

Canto IX. The Plot. 343 

"Soon must thou to the monarch say 
Kaikeyfs soul has past away, 
Or, Rama banished as we planned, 
My son made king shall rule the land. 
No more for gold and gems I care, 
For brave attire or dainty fare. 
If Rama should the throne ascend, 
That very hour my life will end." 

The royal lady wounded through 
The bosom with the darts that flew 

Launched from the hump-back's tongue 
Pressed both her hands upon her side, 
And o'er and o'er again she cried 

With wildering fury stung: 
"Yes, it shall be thy task to tell 
That I have hurried hence to dwell 

In Yama's realms of woe, 
Or happy Bharat shall be king, 
And doomed to years of wandering 

Kausalya's son shall go. 
I heed not dainty viands now 
Fair wreaths of flowers to twine my brow, 

Soft balm or precious scent: 
My very life I count as naught, 
Nothing on earth can claim my thought 

But Rama's banishment." 

She spoke these words of cruel ire; 
Then stripping off her gay attire, 

The cold bare floor she pressed. 
So, falling from her home on high, 
Some lovely daughter of the sky 

Upon the ground might rest. 
With darkened brow and furious mien, 

344 The Ramayana 

Stripped of her gems and wreath, the queen 

In spotless beauty lay, 
Like heaven obscured with gathering cloud, 
When shades of midnight darkness shroud 

Each star's expiring ray. 

Canto X. Dasaratha's Speech. 

As Queen Kaikeyi thus obeyed 
The sinful counsel of her maid 
She sank upon the chamber floor, 
As sinks in anguish, wounded sore, 
An elephant beneath the smart 
Of the wild hunter's venomed dart. 
The lovely lady in her mind 
Revolved the plot her maid designed, 
And prompt the gain and risk to scan 
She step by step approved the plan. 
Misguided by the hump-back's guile 
She pondered her resolve awhile, 
As the fair path that bliss secured 
[ioi] The miserable lady lured, 

Devoted to her queen, and swayed 

By hopes of gain and bliss, the maid 

Rejoiced, her lady's purpose known, 

And deemed the prize she sought her own. 

Then bent upon her purpose dire, 

Kaikeyi with her soul on fire, 

Upon the floor lay, languid, down, 

Her brows contracted in a frown. 

The bright-hued wreath that bound her hair, 

Canto X. Dasaratha's Speech. 345 

Chains, necklets, jewels rich and rare, 

Stripped off by her own fingers lay 

Spread on the ground in disarray, 

And to the floor a lustre lent 

As stars light up the firmament. 

Thus prostrate in the mourner's cell, 

In garb of woe the lady fell, 

Her long hair in a single braid, 

Like some fair nymph of heaven dismayed. 272 

The monarch, Rama to install, 
With thoughtful care had ordered all, 
And now within his home withdrew, 
Dismissing first his retinue. 
Now all the town has heard, thought he, 
What joyful rite the morn will see. 
So turned he to her bower to cheer 
With the glad news his darling's ear. 
Majestic, as the Lord of Night, 
When threatened by the Dragon's might, 
Bursts radiant on the evening sky 
Pale with the clouds that wander by, 
So Dasaratha, great in fame, 
To Queen Kaikeyfs palace came. 
There parrots flew from tree to tree, 
And gorgeous peacocks wandered free, 
While ever and anon was heard 
The note of some glad water-bird. 
Here loitered dwarf and hump-backed maid, 
There lute and lyre sweet music played. 

272 These verses are evidently an interpolation. They contain nothing that has 
not been already related: the words only are altered. As the whole poem could 
not be recited at once, the rhapsodists at the beginning of a fresh recitation 
would naturally remind their hearers of the events immediately preceding. 

346 The Ramayana 

Here, rich in blossom, creepers twined 

O'er grots with wondrous art designed, 

There Champac and Asoka flowers 

Hung glorious o'er the summer bowers, 

And mid the waving verdure rose 

Gold, silver, ivory porticoes. 

Through all the months in ceaseless store 

The trees both fruit and blossom bore. 

With many a lake the grounds were graced; 

Seats gold and silver, here were placed; 

Here every viand wooed the taste, 

It was a garden meet to vie 

E'en with the home of Gods on high. 

Within the mansion rich and vast 

The mighty Dasaratha passed: 

Not there was his beloved queen 

On her fair couch reclining seen. 

With love his eager pulses beat 

For the dear wife he came to meet, 

And in his blissful hopes deceived, 

He sought his absent love and grieved. 

For never had she missed the hour 

Of meeting in her sumptuous bower, 

And never had the king of men 

Entered the empty room till then. 

Still urged by love and anxious thought 

News of his favourite queen he sought, 

For never had his loving eyes 

Found her or selfish or unwise. 

Then spoke at length the warder maid, 

With hands upraised and sore afraid: 

"My Lord and King, the queen has sought 

The mourner's cell with rage distraught." 

Canto X. Dasaratha's Speech. 347 

The words the warder maiden said 
He heard with soul disquieted, 
And thus as fiercer grief assailed, 
His troubled senses wellnigh failed. 
Consumed by torturing fires of grief 
The king, the world's imperial chief, 
His lady lying on the ground 
In most unqueenly posture, found. 
The aged king, all pure within, 
Saw the young queen resolved on sin, 
Low on the ground, his own sweet wife, 
To him far dearer than his life, 
Like some fair creeping plant uptorn, 
Or like a maid of heaven forlorn, 
A nymph of air or Goddess sent 
From Swarga down in banishment. 

As some wild elephant who tries 
To soothe his consort as she lies 
Struck by the hunter's venomed dart, 
So the great king disturbed in heart, 
Strove with soft hand and fond caress 
To soothe his darling queen's distress, 
And in his love addressed with sighs 
The lady of the lotus eyes: 
"I know not, Queen, why thou shouldst be 
Thus angered to the heart with me. 
Say, who has slighted thee, or whence 
Has come the cause of such offence 
That in the dust thou liest low, 
And rendest my fond heart with woe, 
As if some goblin of the night 
Had struck thee with a deadly blight, 
And cast foul influence on her 

348 The Ramayana 

Whose spells my loving bosom stir? 
I have Physicians famed for skill, 
Each trained to cure some special ill: 
My sweetest lady, tell thy pain, 
And they shall make thee well again. 
Whom, darling, wouldst thou punished see? 
[102] Or whom enriched with lordly fee? 

Weep not, my lovely Queen, and stay 
This grief that wears thy frame away; 
Speak, and the guilty shall be freed. 
The guiltless be condemned to bleed, 
The poor enriched, the rich abased, 
The low set high, the proud disgraced. 
My lords and I thy will obey, 
All slaves who own thy sovereign sway; 
And I can ne'er my heart incline 
To check in aught one wish of thine. 
Now by my life I pray thee tell 
The thoughts that in thy bosom dwell. 
The power and might thou knowest well, 
Should from thy breast all doubt expel. 
I swear by all my merit won, 
Speak, and thy pleasure shall be done. 
Far as the world's wide bounds extend 
My glorious empire knows no end. 
Mine are the tribes in eastern lands, 
And those who dwell on Sindhu's sands: 
Mine is Surashtra, far away, 
Suvira's realm admits my sway. 
My best the southern nations fear, 
The Angas and the Vangas hear. 
And as lord paramount I reign 
O'er Magadh and the Matsyas' plain, 

Canto XI. The Queen's Demand. 349 

Kosal, and Kasi's wide domain: 273 

All rich in treasures of the mine, 

In golden corn, sheep, goats, and kine. 

Choose what thou wilt. Kaikeyi, thence: 

But tell me, O my darling, whence 

Arose thy grief, and it shall fly 

Like hoar-frost when the sun is high." 

She, by his loving words consoled, 
Longed her dire purpose to unfold, 
And sought with sharper pangs to wring 
The bosom of her lord the king. 

Canto XI. The Queen's Demand. 

To him enthralled by love, and blind, 

Pierced by his darts who shakes the mind, 274 

Kaikeyi with remorseless breast 

Her grand purpose thus expressed: 

"O King, no insult or neglect 

Have I endured, or disrespect. 

One wish I have, and faith would see 

That longing granted, lord, by thee. 

Now pledge thy word if thou incline 

To listen to this prayer of mine, 

Then I with confidence will speak, 

And thou shalt hear the boon I seek." 

273 The sloka or distich which I have been forced to expand into these nine lines 
is evidently spurious, but is found in all the commented MSS. which Schlegel 

274 Manmatha, Mind-disturber, a name of Kama or Love. 

350 The Ramayana 

Ere she had ceased, the monarch fell, 
A victim to the lady's spell, 
And to the deadly snare she set 
Sprang, like a roebuck to the net. 
Her lover raised her drooping head, 
Smiled, playing with her hair, and said: 
"Hast thou not learnt, wild dame, till now 
That there is none so dear as thou 
To me thy loving husband, save 
My Rama bravest of the brave? 
By him my race's high-souled heir, 
By him whom none can match, I swear, 
Now speak the wish that on thee weighs: 
By him whose right is length of days, 
Whom if my fond paternal eye 
Saw not one hour I needs must die, — 
I swear by Rama my dear son, 
Speak, and thy bidding shall be done. 
Speak, darling; if thou choose, request 
To have the heart from out my breast; 
Regard my words, sweet love, and name 
The wish thy mind thinks fit to frame. 
Nor let thy soul give way to doubt: 
My power should drive suspicion out. 
Yea, by my merits won I swear, 
Speak, darling, I will grant thy prayer." 

The queen, ambitious, overjoyed 
To see him by her plot decoyed, 
More eager still her aims to reach, 
Spoke her abominable speech: 
"A boon thou grantest, nothing loth, 
And swearest with repeated oath. 
Now let the thirty Gods and three 

Canto XI. The Queen's Demand. 351 

My witnesses, with Indra, be. 
Let sun and moon and planets hear, 
Heaven, quarters, day and night, give ear. 
The mighty world, the earth outspread, 
With bards of heaven and demons dread; 
The ghosts that walk in midnight shade, 
And household Gods, our present aid, 
A every being great and small 
To hear and mark the oath I call." 

When thus the archer king was bound, 
With treacherous arts and oaths enwound, 
She to her bounteous lord subdued 
By blinding love, her speech renewed: 
"Remember, King, that long-past day 
Of Gods' and demons' battle fray. 
And how thy foe in doubtful strife 
Had nigh bereft thee of thy life. 
Remember, it was only I 
Preserved thee when about to die, 
And thou for watchful love and care 
Wouldst grant my first and second prayer. 
Those offered boons, pledged with thee then, 

I now demand, O King of men, [103] 

Of thee, O Monarch, good and just, 
Whose righteous soul observes each trust. 
If thou refuse thy promise sworn, 
I die, despised, before the morn. 
These rites in Rama's name begun — 
Transfer them, and enthrone my son. 
The time is come to claim at last 
The double boon of days long-past, 
When Gods and demons met in fight, 
And thou wouldst fain my care requite. 

352 The Ramayana 

Now forth to Dandak's forest drive 
Thy Rama for nine years and five, 
And let him dwell a hermit there 
With deerskin coat and matted hair. 
Without a rival let my boy 
The empire of the land enjoy, 
And let mine eyes ere morning see 
Thy Rama to the forest flee." 

Canto XII. Dasaratha's Lament. 

The monarch, as Kaikeyi pressed 
With cruel words her dire request, 
Stood for a time absorbed in thought 
While anguish in his bosom wrought. 
"Does some wild dream my heart assail? 
Or do my troubled senses fail? 
Does some dire portent scare my view? 
Or frenzy's stroke my soul subdue?" 
Thus as he thought, his troubled mind 
In doubt and dread no rest could find, 
Distressed and trembling like a deer 
Who sees the dreaded tigress near. 
On the bare ground his limbs he threw, 
And many a long deep sigh he drew, 
Like a wild snake, with fury blind, 
By charms within a ring confined. 
Once as the monarch's fury woke, 
"Shame on thee!" from his bosom broke, 
And then in sense-bewildering pain 
He fainted on the ground again. 

Canto XII. Dasaratha's Lament. 353 

At length, when slowly strength returned, 

He answered as his eyeballs burned 

With the wild fury of his ire 

Consuming her, as 'twere, with fire: 

"Fell traitress, thou whose thoughts design 

The utter ruin of my line, 

What wrong have I or Rama done? 

Speak murderess, speak thou wicked one, 

Seeks he not evermore to please 

Thee with all sonlike courtesies? 

By what persuasion art thou led 

To bring this ruin on his head? 

Ah me, that fondly unaware 

I brought thee home my life to share, 

Called daughter of a king, in truth 

A serpent with a venomed tooth! 

What fault can I pretend to find 

In Rama praised by all mankind, 

That I my darling should forsake? 

No, take my life, my glory take: 

Let either queen be from me torn, 

But not my well-loved eldest-born. 

Him but to see is highest bliss, 

And death itself his face to miss. 

The world may sunless stand, the grain 

May thrive without the genial rain, 

But if my Rama be not nigh 

My spirit from its frame will fly. 

Enough, thine impious plan forgo, 

O thou who plottest sin and woe. 

My head before thy feet, I kneel, 

And pray thee some compassion feel. 

O wicked dame, what can have led 

Thy heart to dare a plot so dread? 

354 The Ramayana 

Perchance thy purpose is to sound 

The grace thy son with me has found; 

Perchance the words that, all these days, 

Thou still hast said in Rama's praise, 

Were only feigned, designed to cheer 

With flatteries a father's ear. 

Soon as thy grief, my Queen, I knew, 

My bosom felt the anguish too. 

In empty halls art thou possessed, 

And subject to anothers' hest? 

Now on Ikshvaku's ancient race 

Falls foul disorder and disgrace, 

If thou, O Queen, whose heart so long 

Has loved the good should choose the wrong. 

Not once, O large-eyed dame, hast thou 

Been guilty of offence till now, 

Nor said a word to make me grieve, 

Now will I now thy sin believe. 

With thee my Rama used to hold 

Like place with Bharat lofty-souled. 

As thou so often, when the pair 

Were children yet, wouldst fain declare. 

And can thy righteous soul endure 

That Rama glorious, pious, pure, 

Should to the distant wilds be sent 

For fourteen years of banishment? 

Yea, Rama Bharat's self exceeds 

In love to thee and sonlike deeds, 

And, for deserving love of thee, 

As Bharat, even so is he. 

Who better than that chieftain may 

Obedience, love, and honour pay, 

Thy dignity with care protect, 

Thy slightest word and wish respect? 

Canto XII. Dasaratha's Lament. 355 

Of all his countless followers none 

Can breathe a word against my son; 

Of many thousands not a dame 

Can hint reproach or whisper blame. 

All creatures feel the sweet control 

Of Rama's pure and gentle soul. 

The pride of Manu's race he binds 

To him the people's grateful minds. 

He wins the subjects with his truth, [104] 

The poor with gifts and gentle ruth, 

His teachers with his docile will, 

The foemen with his archer skill. 

Truth, purity, religious zeal, 

The hand to give, the heart to feel, 

The love that ne'er betrays a friend, 

The rectitude that naught can bend, 

Knowledge, and meek obedience grace 

My Rama pride of Raghu's race. 

Canst thou thine impious plot design 

'Gainst him in whom these virtues shine, 

Whose glory with the sages vies, 

Peer of the Gods who rule the skies! 

From him no harsh or bitter word 

To pain one creature have I heard, 

And how can I my son address, 

For thee, with words of bitterness? 

Have mercy, Queen: some pity show 

To see my tears of anguish flow, 

And listen to my mournful cry, 

A poor old man who soon must die. 

Whate'er this sea-girt land can boast 

Of rich and rare from coast to coast, 

To thee, my Queen, I give it all: 

But O, thy deadly words recall: 

356 The Ramayana 

O see, my suppliant hands entreat, 
Again my lips are on thy feet: 
Save Rama, save my darling child, 
Nor kill me with this sin defiled." 
He grovelled on the ground, and lay 
To burning grief a senseless prey, 
And ever and anon, assailed 
By floods of woe he wept and wailed, 
Striving with eager speed to gain 
The margent of his sea of pain. 

With fiercer words she fiercer yet 
The hapless father's pleading met: 
"O Monarch, if thy soul repent 
The promise and thy free consent, 
How wilt thou in the world maintain 
Thy fame for truth unsmirched with stain? 
When gathered kings with thee converse, 
And bid thee all the tale rehearse, 
What wilt thou say, O truthful King, 
In answer to their questioning? 
"She to whose love my life I owe, 
Who saved me smitten by the foe, 
Kaikeyi, for her tender care, 
Was cheated of the oath I sware." 
Thus wilt thou answer, and forsworn 
Wilt draw on thee the princes' scorn. 
Learn from that tale, the Hawk and Dove, 275 
How strong for truth was Saivya's love. 
Pledged by his word the monarch gave 
His flesh the suppliant bird to save. 
So King Alarka gave his eyes, 

275 This story is told in the Mahabharat. A free version of it may be found in 
Scenes from the Rdmdyan, etc. 

Canto XII. Dasaratha's Lament. 357 

And gained a mansion in the skies. 
The Sea himself his promise keeps, 
And ne'er beyond his limit sweeps. 
My deeds of old again recall, 
Nor let thy bond dishonoured fall. 
The rights of truth thou wouldst forget, 
Thy Rama on the throne to set, 
And let thy days in pleasure glide, 
Fond King, Kausalya by thy side. 
Now call it by what name thou wilt, 
Justice, injustice, virtue, guilt, 
Thy word and oath remain the same, 
And thou must yield what thus I claim. 
If Rama be anointed, I 
This very day will surely die, 
Before thy face will poison drink, 
And lifeless at thy feet will sink. 
Yea, better far to die than stay 
Alive to see one single day 
The crowds before Kausalya stand 
And hail her queen with reverent hand. 
Now by my son, myself, I swear, 
No gift, no promise whatsoe'er 
My steadfast soul shall now content, 
But only Rama's banishment." 

So far she spake by rage impelled, 
And then the queen deep silence held. 
He heard her speech full fraught with ill, 
But spoke no word bewildered still, 
Gazed on his love once held so dear 
Who spoke unlovely rede to hear; 
Then as he slowly pondered o'er 
The queen's resolve and oath she swore. 

358 The Ramayana 

Once sighing forth, Ah Rama! he 
Fell prone as falls a smitten tree. 
His senses lost like one insane, 
Faint as a sick man weak with pain, 
Or like a wounded snake dismayed, 
So lay the king whom earth obeyed. 
Long burning sighs he slowly heaved, 
As, conquered by his woe, he grieved, 
And thus with tears and sobs between 
His sad faint words addressed the queen: 

"By whom, Kaikeyi, wast thou taught 
This flattering hope with ruin fraught? 
Have goblins seized thy soul, O dame, 
Who thus canst speak and feel no shame? 
Thy mind with sin is sicklied o'er, 
From thy first youth ne'er seen before. 
A good and loving wife wast thou, 
But all, alas! is altered now. 
What terror can have seized thy breast 
To make thee frame this dire request, 
That Bharat o'er the land may reign, 
And Rama in the woods remain? 
Turn from thine evil ways, O turn, 
And thy perfidious counsel spurn, 
If thou would fain a favour do 
To people, lord, and Bharat too. 
O wicked traitress, fierce and vile, 
[105] Who lovest deeds of sin and guile, 

What crime or grievance dost thou see, 
What fault in Rama or in me? 
Thy son will ne'er the throne accept 
If Rama from his rights be kept, 
For Bharat's heart more firmly yet 

Canto XII. Dasaratha's Lament. 359 

Than Rama's is on justice set. 

How shall I say, Go forth, and brook 

Upon my Rama's face to look, 

See his pale cheek and ashy lips 

Dimmed like the moon in sad eclipse? 

How see the plan so well prepared 

When prudent friends my counsels shared, 

All ruined, like a host laid low 

Beneath some foeman's murderous blow. 

What will these gathered princes say, 

From regions near and far away? 

"O'erlong endures the monarch's reign, 

or now he is a child again." 

When many a good and holy sage 

In Scripture versed, revered for age, 

Shall ask for Rama, what shall I 

Unhappy, what shall I reply? 

"By Queen Kaikeyi long distressed 

I drove him forth and dispossessed." 

Although herein the truth I speak, 

They all will hold me false and weak. 

What will Kausalya say when she 

Demands her son exiled by me? 

Alas ! what answer shall I frame, 

Or how console the injured dame? 

She like a slave on me attends, 

And with a sister's care she blends 

A mother's love, a wife's, a friend's. 

In spite of all her tender care, 

Her noble son, her face most fair, 

Another queen I could prefer 

And for thy sake neglected her, 

But now, O Queen, my heart is grieved 

For love and care by thee received, 

360 The Ramayana 

E'en as the sickening wretch repents 
His dainty meal and condiments. 
And how will Queen Sumitra trust 
The husband whom she finds unjust, 
Seeing my Rama driven hence 
Dishonoured, and for no offence? 
Ah! the Videhan bride will hear 
A double woe, a double fear, 
Two whelming sorrows at one breath, 
Her lord's disgrace, his father's death. 
Mine aged bosom she will wring 
And kill me with her sorrowing, 
Sad as a fair nymph left to weep 
Deserted on Himalaya's steep. 
For short will be my days, I ween, 
When I with mournful eyes have seen 
My Rama wandering forth alone 
And heard dear Sita sob and moan. 
Ah me! my fond belief I rue. 
Vile traitress, loved as good and true, 
As one who in his thirst has quaffed, 
Deceived by looks, a deadly draught. 
Ah! thou hast slain me, murderess, while 
Soothing my soul with words of guile, 
As the wild hunter kills the deer 
Lured from the brake his song to hear. 
Soon every honest tongue will fling 
Reproach on the dishonest king; 
The people's scorn in every street 
The seller of his child will meet, 
And such dishonour will be mine 
As whelms a Brahman drunk with wine. 
Ah me, for my unhappy fate, 
Compelled thy words to tolerate! 

Canto XII. Dasaratha's Lament. 361 

Such woe is sent to scourge a crime 
Committed in some distant time. 
For many a day with sinful care 
I cherished thee, thou sin and snare, 
Kept thee, unwitting, like a cord 
Destined to bind its hapless lord. 
Mine hours of ease I spent with thee, 
Nor deemed my love my death would be, 
While like a heedless child I played, 
On a black snake my hand I laid. 
A cry from every mouth will burst 
And all the world will hold me curst, 
Because I saw my high-souled son 
Unkinged, unfathered, and undone; 
"The king by power of love beguiled 
Is weaker than a foolish child, 
His own beloved son to make 
An exile for a woman's sake. 
By chaste and holy vows restrained, 
By reverend teachers duly trained. 
When he his virtue's fruit should taste 
He falls by sin and woe disgraced." 
Two words will all his answer be 
When I pronounce the stern decree, 
"Hence, Rama, to the woods away," 
All he will say is, I obey. 
O, if he would my will withstand 
When banished from his home and land, 
This were a comfort in my woe; 
But he will ne'er do this, I know. 
My Rama to the forest fled, 
And curses thick upon my head, 
Grim Death will bear me hence away, 
His world-abominated prey. 

362 The Ramayana 

When I am gone and Rama too. 
How wilt thou those I love pursue? 
What vengeful sin will be designed 
Against the queens I leave behind? 
When thou hast slain her son and me 
Kausalya soon will follow: she 
Will sink beneath her sorrows' weight, 
And die like me disconsolate. 
Exist, Kaikeyi, in thy pride, 
And let thy heart be gratified, 
When thou my queens and me hast hurled, 
And children, to the under world. 
Soon wilt thou rule as empress o'er 
My noble house unvext before. 
[106] But then to wild confusion left, 

Of Rama and of me bereft. 
If Bharat to thy plan consent 
And long for Rama's banishment, 
Ne'er let his hands presume to pay 
The funeral honours to my clay. 
Vile foe, thou cause of all mine ill, 
Obtain at last thy cursed will. 
A widow soon shalt thou enjoy 
The sweets of empire with thy boy. 
O Princess, sure some evil fate 
First brought thee here to devastate, 
In whom the night of ruin lies 
Veiled in a consort's fair disguise. 
The scorn of all and deepest shame 
Will long pursue my hated name, 
And dire disgrace on me will press, 
Misled by thee to wickedness. 
How shall my Rama, whom, before, 
His elephant or chariot bore, 

Canto XII. Dasaratha's Lament. 363 

Now with his feet, a wanderer, tread 
The forest wilds around him spread? 
How shall my son, to please whose taste, 
The deftest cooks, with earrings graced, 
With rivalry and jealous care 
The dainty meal and cates prepare — 
How shall he now his life sustain 
With acid fruit and woodland grain? 
He spends his time unvext by cares, 
And robes of precious texture wears: 
How shall he, with one garment round 
His limbs recline upon the ground? 
Whose was this plan, this cruel thought 
Unheard till now, with ruin fraught, 
To make thy son Ayodhya's king, 
And send my Rama wandering? 
Shame, shame on women! Vile, untrue, 
Their selfish ends they still pursue. 
Not all of womankind I mean. 
But more than all this wicked queen. 

worthless, cruel, selfish dame, 

I brought thee home, my plague and woe. 
What fault in me hast thou to blame, 

Or in my son who loves thee so? 
Fond wives may from their husbands flee, 

And fathers may their sons desert, 
But all the world would rave to see 

My Rama touched with deadly hurt. 

1 joy his very step to hear, 

As though his godlike form I viewed; 
And when I see my Rama near 

I feel my youth again renewed. 
There might be life without the sun, 

Yea, e'en if Indra sent no rain, 

364 The Ramayana 

But, were my Rama banished, none 

Would, so I think, alive remain. 
A foe that longs my life to take, 

I brought thee here my death to be, 
Caressed thee long, a venomed snake, 

And through my folly die. Ah me! 
Rama and me and Lakshman slay, 

And then with Bharat rule the state; 
So bring the kingdom to decay, 

And fawn on those thy lord who hate, 
Plotter of woe, for evil bred, 

For such a speech why do not all 
Thy teeth from out thy wicked head 

Split in a thousand pieces fall? 
My Rama's words are ever kind, 

He knows not how to speak in ire: 
Then how canst thou presume to find 

A fault in him whom all admire? 
Yield to despair, go mad, or die, 

Or sink within the rifted earth; 
Thy fell request will I deny, 

Thou shamer of thy royal birth. 
Thy longer life I scarce can bear, 

Thou ruin of my home and race, 
Who wouldst my heart and heartstrings tear, 

Keen as a razor, false and base. 
My life is gone, why speak of joy? 

For what, without my son, were sweet? 
Spare, lady, him thou canst destroy; 

I pray thee as I touch thy feet." 
He fell and wept with wild complaint, 

Heart-struck by her presumptuous speech, 
But could not touch, so weak and faint, 

The cruel feet he strove to reach. 

Canto XIII. Dasaratha's Distress. 365 

Canto XIII. Dasaratha's Distress. 

Unworthy of his mournful fate, 

The mighty king, unfortunate, 

Lay prostrate in unseemly guise, 

As, banished from the blissful skies, 

Yayati, in his evil day. 

His merit all exhausted, lay. 27 

The queen, triumphant in the power 

Won by her beauty's fatal dower, 

Still terrible and unsubdued, 

Her dire demand again renewed: 

"Great Monarch, 'twas thy boast till now 

To love the truth and keep the vow; 

Then wherefore would thy lips refuse 

The promised boon 'tis mine to choose?" 

King Dasaratha, thus addressed, 
With anger raging in his breast, 
Sank for a while beneath the pain, 

Then to Kaikeyi spoke again: [107] 

"Childless so long, at length I won, 
With mighty toil, from Heaven a son, 
Rama, the mighty-armed; and how 
Shall I desert my darling now? 
A scholar wise, a hero bold, 
Of patient mood, with wrath controlled, 
How can I bid my Rama fly, 
My darling of the lotus eye? 

276 Only the highest merit obtains a home in heaven for ever. Minor degrees 
of merit procure only leases of heavenly mansions terminable after periods 
proportioned to the fund which buys them. King Yayati went to heaven and 
when his term expired was unceremoniously ejected, and thrown down to 

366 The Ramayana 

In heaven itself I scarce could bear, 
When asking of my Rama there, 
To hear the Gods his griefs declare, 
And O, that death would take me hence 
Before I wrong his innocence!" 

As thus the monarch wept and wailed, 
And maddening grief his heart assailed, 
The sun had sought his resting-place, 
And night was closing round apace. 
But yet the moon-crowned night could bring 
No comfort to the wretched king. 
As still he mourned with burning sighs 
And fixed his gaze upon the skies: 
"O Night whom starry fires adorn, 
I long not for the coming morn. 
Be kind and show some mercy: see, 
My suppliant hands are raised to thee. 
Nay, rather fly with swifter pace; 
No longer would I see the face 
Of Queen Kaikeyi, cruel, dread, 
Who brings this woe upon mine head." 
Again with suppliant hands he tried 
To move the queen, and wept and sighed: 
"To me, unhappy me, inclined 
To good, sweet dame, thou shouldst be kind; 
Whose life is well-nigh fled, who cling 
To thee for succour, me thy king. 
This, only this, is all my claim: 
Have mercy, O my lovely dame. 
None else have I to take my part, 
Have mercy: thou art good at heart. 
Hear, lady of the soft black eye, 
And win a name that ne'er shall die: 

Canto XIV. Rama Summoned. 367 

Let Rama rule this glorious land, 
The gift of thine imperial hand. 
O lady of the dainty waist, 
With eyes and lips of beauty graced, 
Please Rama, me, each saintly priest, 
Bharat, and all from chief to least." 

She heard his wild and mournful cry, 
She saw the tears his speech that broke, 
Saw her good husband's reddened eye, 

But, cruel still, no word she spoke. 
His eyes upon her face he bent, 

And sought for mercy, but in vain: 
She claimed his darling's banishment, 

He swooned upon the ground again. 

Canto XIV. Rama Summoned. 

The wicked queen her speech renewed, 
When rolling on the earth she viewed 
Ikshvaku's son, Ayodhya's king, 
For his dear Rama sorrowing: 
"Why, by a simple promise bound, 
Liest thou prostrate on the ground, 
As though a grievous sin dismayed 
Thy spirit! Why so sore afraid? 
Keep still thy word. The righteous deem 
That truth, mid duties, is supreme: 
And now in truth and honour's name 
I bid thee own the binding claim. 
Saivya, a king whom earth obeyed, 
Once to a hawk a promise made, 

368 The Ramayana 

Gave to the bird his flesh and bone, 
And by his truth made heaven his own. 277 

Alarka, when a Brahman famed 

For Scripture lore his promise claimed, 

Tore from his head his bleeding eyes 

And unreluctant gave the prize. 

His narrow bounds prescribed restrain 

The Rivers' Lord, the mighty main, 

Who, though his waters boil and rave, 

Keeps faithful to the word he gave. 

Truth all religion comprehends, 

Through all the world its might extends: 

In truth alone is justice placed, 

On truth the words of God are based: 

A life in truth unchanging past 

Will bring the highest bliss at last. 

If thou the right would still pursue, 

Be constant to thy word and true: 

Let me thy promise fruitful see, 

For boons, O King, proceed from thee. 

Now to preserve thy righteous fame, 

And yielding to my earnest claim — 

Thrice I repeat it — send thy child, 

Thy Rama, to the forest wild. 

But if the boon thou still deny, 

Before thy face, forlorn, I die." 

See Additional Notes, THE SUPPLIANT DOVEJFNS. 

Canto XIV. Rama Summoned. 369 

Thus was the helpless monarch stung 
By Queen Kaikeyfs fearless tongue, 
As Bali strove in vain to loose 
His limbs from Indra's fatal noose. 
Dismayed in soul and pale with fear, 
The monarch, like a trembling steer 
Between the chariot's wheel and yoke, 
Again to Queen Kaikeyi spoke, 
With sad eyes fixt in vacant stare, 
Gathering courage from despair: 
"That hand I took, thou sinful dame, 
With texts, before the sacred flame, 
Thee and thy son, I scorn and hate, 

And all at once repudiate. [i08] 

The night is fled: the dawn is near: 
Soon will the holy priests be here 
To bid me for the rite prepare 
That with my son the throne will share, 
The preparation made to grace 
My Rama in his royal place — 
With this, e'en this, my darling for 
My death the funeral flood shall pour. 
Thou and thy son at least forbear 
In offerings to my shade to share, 
For by the plot thy guile has laid 
His consecration will be stayed. 
This very day how shall I brook 
To meet each subject's altered look? 
To mark each gloomy joyless brow 
That was so bright and glad but now?" 

While thus the high-souled monarch spoke 
To the stern queen, the Morning broke, 
And holy night had slowly fled, 

370 The Ramayana 

With moon and stars engarlanded. 

Yet once again the cruel queen 

Spoke words in answer fierce and keen, 

Still on her evil purpose bent, 

Wild with her rage and eloquent: 

"What speech is this? Such words as these 

Seem sprung from poison-sown disease. 

Quick to thy noble Rama send 

And bid him on his sire attend. 

When to my son the rule is given; 

When Rama to the woods is driven; 

When not a rival copes with me, 

From chains of duty thou art free." 

Thus goaded, like a generous steed 
Urged by sharp spurs to double speed, 
"My senses are astray," he cried, 
"And duty's bonds my hands have tied. 
I long to see mine eldest son, 
My virtuous, my beloved one." 

And now the night had past away; 
Out shone the Maker of the Day, 
Bringing the planetary hour 
And moment of auspicious power. 
Vasishtha, virtuous, far renowned, 
Whose young disciples girt him round, 
With sacred things without delay 
Through the fair city took his way. 
He traversed, where the people thronged, 
And all for Rama's coming longed, 
The town as fair in festive show 
As his who lays proud cities low. 278 

278 Indra, called also Purandara, Town-destroyer. 

Canto XIV. Rama Summoned. 371 

He reached the palace where he heard 

The mingled notes of many a bird, 

Where crowded thick high-honoured bands 

Of guards with truncheons in their hands. 

Begirt by many a sage, elate, 

Vasishtha reached the royal gate, 

And standing by the door he found 

Sumantra, for his form renowned, 

The king's illustrious charioteer 

And noble counsellor and peer. 

To him well skilled in every part 

Of his hereditary art 

Vasishtha said: "O charioteer, 

Inform the king that I am here, 

Here ready by my side behold 

These sacred vessels made of gold, 

Which water for the rite contain 

From Ganga and each distant main. 

Here for installing I have brought 

The seat prescribed of fig-wood wrought, 

All kinds of seed and precious scent 

And many a gem and ornament; 

Grain, sacred grass, the garden's spoil, 

Honey and curds and milk and oil; 

Eight radiant maids, the best of all 

War elephants that feed in stall; 

A four-horse car, a bow and sword. 

A litter, men to bear their lord; 

A white umbrella bright and fair 

That with the moon may well compare; 

Two chouries of the whitest hair; 

A golden beaker rich and rare; 

A bull high-humped and fair to view, 

Girt with gold bands and white of hue; 

372 The Ramayana 

A four-toothed steed with flowing mane, 

A throne which lions carved sustain; 

A tiger's skin, the sacred fire, 

Fresh kindled, which the rites require; 

The best musicians skilled to play, 

And dancing-girls in raiment gay; 

Kine, Brahmans, teachers fill the court, 

And bird and beast of purest sort. 

From town and village, far and near, 

The noblest men are gathered here; 

Here merchants with their followers crowd, 

And men in joyful converse loud, 

And kings from many a distant land 

To view the consecration stand. 

The dawn is come, the lucky day; 

Go bid the monarch haste away, 

That now Prince Rama may obtain 

The empire, and begin his reign." 

Soon as he heard the high behest 
The driver of the chariot pressed 
Within the chambers of the king, 
His lord with praises honouring. 
And none of all the warders checked 
His entrance for their great respect 
Of him well known, in place so high, 
Still fain their king to gratify. 
He stood beside the royal chief, 
Unwitting of his deadly grief, 
And with sweet words began to sing 
The praises of his lord and king: 
"As, when the sun begins to rise, 
The sparkling sea delights our eyes, 
[109] Wake, calm with gentle soul, and thus 

Canto XIV. Rama Summoned. 373 

Give rapture, mighty King, to us. 
As Matali 279 this selfsame hour 
Sang lauds of old to Indra's power, 
When he the Titan hosts o'erthrew, 
So hymn I thee with praises due. 
The Vedas, with their kindred lore, 
Brahma their soul-born Lord adore, 
With all the doctrines of the wise, 
And bid him, as I bid thee, rise. 
As, with the moon, the Lord of Day 
Wakes with the splendour of his ray 
Prolific Earth, who neath him lies, 
So, mighty King, I bid thee rise. 
With blissful words, O Lord of men, 
Rise, radiant in thy form, as when 
The sun ascending darts his light 
From Meru's everlasting height. 
May Siva, Agni, Sun, and Moon 
Bestow on thee each choicest boon, 
Kuvera, Varuna, Indra bless 
Kakutstha's son with all success. 
Awake, the holy night is fled, 
The happy light abroad is spread; 
Awake, O best of kings, and share 
The glorious task that claims thy care. 
The holy sage Vasishtha waits, 
With all his Brahmans, at the gate. 
Give thy decree, without delay, 
To consecrate thy son today. 
As armies, by no captain led, 
As flocks that feed unshepherded, 
Such is the fortune of a state 

279 Indra's charioteer. 

374 The Ramayana 

Without a king and desolate." 

Such were the words the bard addressed, 
With weight of sage advice impressed; 
And, as he heard, the hapless king 
Felt deeper yet his sorrow's sting. 
At length, all joy and comfort fled, 
He raised his eyes with weeping red, 
And, mournful for his Rama's sake, 
The good and glorious monarch spake: 
"Why seek with idle praise to greet 
The wretch for whom no praise is meet? 
Thy words mine aching bosom tear, 
And plunge me deeper in despair." 

Sumantra heard the sad reply, 
And saw his master's tearful eye. 
With reverent palm to palm applied 
He drew a little space aside. 
Then, as the king, with misery weak, 
With vain endeavour strove to speak, 
Kaikeyi, skilled in plot and plan, 
To sage Sumantra thus began: 
"The king, absorbed in joyful thought 
For his dear son, no rest has sought: 
Sleepless to him the night has past, 
And now o'erwatched he sinks at last. 
Then go, Sumantra, and with speed 
The glorious Rama hither lead: 
Go, as I pray, nor longer wait; 
No time is this to hesitate." 

"How can I go, O Lady fair, 
Unless my lord his will declare?" 

"Fain would I see him," cried the king, 

Canto XV. The Preparations. 375 

"Quick, quick, my beauteous Rama bring." 

Then rose the happy thought to cheer 
The bosom of the charioteer, 
"The king, I ween, of pious mind, 
The consecration has designed." 
Sumantra for his wisdom famed, 
Delighted with the thought he framed, 
From the calm chamber, like a bay 
Of crowded ocean, took his way. 

He turned his face to neither side, 

But forth he hurried straight; 
Only a little while he eyed 
The guards who kept the gate. 
He saw in front a gathered crowd 

Of men of every class, 
Who, parting as he came, allowed 

The charioteer to pass. 

Canto XV. The Preparations. 

There slept the Brahmans, deeply read 
In Scripture, till the night had fled; 
Then, with the royal chaplains, they 
Took each his place in long array. 
There gathered fast the chiefs of trade, 
Nor peer nor captain long delayed, 
Assembling all in order due 
The consecrating rite to view. 

376 The Ramayana 

The morning dawned with cloudless ray 
On Pushya's high auspicious day, 
And Cancer with benignant power 
Looked down on Rama's natal hour. 
The twice-born chiefs, with zealous heed, 
Made ready what the rite would need. 
The well-wrought throne of holy wood 
And golden urns in order stood. 
There was the royal car whereon 
A tiger's skin resplendent shone; 
There water, brought for sprinkling thence 
Where, in their sacred confluence, 
Blend Jumna's waves with Ganga's tide, 
From many a holy flood beside, 
From brook and fountain far and near, 
From pool and river, sea and mere. 
And there were honey, curd, and oil, 
Parched rice and grass, the garden's spoil, 
Fresh milk, eight girls in bright attire, 
An elephant with eyes of fire; 
And urns of gold and silver made, 
With milky branches overlaid, 
All brimming from each sacred flood, 
[no] And decked with many a lotus bud. 

And dancing-women fair and free, 
Gay with their gems, were there to see, 
Who stood in bright apparel by 
With lovely brow and witching eye. 
White flashed the jewelled chouri there, 
And shone like moonbeams through the air; 
The white umbrella overhead 
A pale and moonlike lustre shed, 
Wont in pure splendour to precede, 
And in such rites the pomp to lead. 

Canto XV. The Preparations. 377 

There stood the charger by the side 
Of the great bull of snow-white hide; 
There was all music soft and loud, 
And bards and minstrels swelled the crowd. 
For now the monarch bade combine 
Each custom of his ancient line 
With every rite Ayodhya's state 
Observed, her kings to consecrate. 

Then, summoned by the king's behest, 
The multitudes together pressed, 
And, missing still the royal sire, 
Began, impatient, to inquire: 
"Who to our lord will tidings bear 
That all his people throng the square? 
Where is the king? the sun is bright, 
And all is ready for the rite." 

As thus they spoke, Sumantra, tried 
In counsel, to the chiefs replied, 
Gathered from lands on every side: 
"To Rama's house I swiftly drave, 
For so the king his mandate gave. 
Our aged lord and Rama too 
In honour high hold all of you: 
I in your words (be long your days!) 
Will ask him why he thus delays." 

378 The Ramayana 

Thus spoke the peer in Scripture read, 
And to the ladies' bower he sped. 
Quick through the gates Sumantra hied, 
Which access ne'er to him denied. 
Behind the curtained screen he drew, 
Which veiled the chamber from the view. 
In benediction loud he raised 
His voice, and thus the monarch praised: 
"Sun, Moon, Kuvera, Siva bless 
Kakutstha's son with high success ! 
The Lords of air, flood, fire decree 
The victory, my King, to thee! 
The holy night has past away, 
Auspicious shines the morning's ray. 
Rise, Lord of men, thy part to take 
In the great rite. Awake! awake! 
Brahmans and captains, chiefs of trade, 
All wait in festive garb arrayed; 
For thee they look with eager eyes: 
O Raghu's son, awake! arise." 

To him in holy Scripture read, 
Who hailed him thus, the monarch said, 
Upraising from his sleep his head: 
"Go, Rama, hither lead as thou 
Wast ordered by the queen but now. 
Come, tell me why my mandate laid 
Upon thee thus is disobeyed. 
Away! and Rama hither bring; 
I sleep not: make no tarrying." 

Canto XV. The Preparations. 379 

Thus gave the king command anew: 
Sumantra from his lord withdrew; 
With head in lowly reverence bent, 
And filled with thoughts of joy, he went. 
The royal street he traversed, where 
Waved flag and pennon to the air, 
And, as with joy the car he drove, 
He let his eyes delighted rove. 
On every side, where'er he came, 
He heard glad words, their theme the same, 
As in their joy the gathered folk 
Of Rama and the throning spoke. 
Then saw he Rama's palace bright 
And vast as Mount Kailasa's height, 
That glorious in its beauty showed 
As Indra's own supreme abode: 
With folding doors both high and wide; 
With hundred porches beautified: 
Where golden statues towering rose 
O'er gemmed and coralled porticoes. 
Bright like a cave in Meru's side, 
Or clouds through Autumn's sky that ride: 
Festooned with length of bloomy twine, 
Flashing with pearls and jewels' shine, 
While sandal-wood and aloe lent 
The mingled riches of their scent; 
With all the odorous sweets that fill 
The breezy heights of Dardar's hill. 
There by the gate the Saras screamed, 
And shrill-toned peacocks' plumage gleamed. 
Its floors with deftest art inlaid, 
Its sculptured wolves in gold arrayed, 
With its bright sheen the palace took 
The mind of man and chained the look, 

380 The Ramayana 

For like the sun and moon it glowed, 
And mocked Kuvera's loved abode. 
Circling the walls a crowd he viewed 
Who stood in reverent attitude, 
With throngs of countrymen who sought 
Acceptance of the gifts they brought. 
The elephant was stationed there, 
Appointed Rama's self to bear; 
Adorned with pearls, his brow and cheek 
Were sandal-dyed in many a streak, 
While he, in stature, bulk, and pride, 
With Indra's own Airavat 280 vied. 
Sumantra, borne by coursers fleet, 
Flashing a radiance o'er the street, 

To Rama's palace flew, 
And all who lined the royal road, 
Or thronged the prince's rich abode, 

Rejoiced as near he drew. 
And with delight his bosom swelled 
[in] As onward still his course he held 

Through many a sumptuous court 
Like Indra's palace nobly made, 
Where peacocks revelled in the shade, 

And beasts of silvan sort. 
Through many a hall and chamber wide, 
That with Kailasa's splendour vied. 

Or mansions of the Blest, 
While Rama's friends, beloved and tried, 
Before his coming stepped aside, 

Still on Sumantra pressed. 
He reached the chamber door, where stood 
Around his followers young and good, 

280 The elephant of Indra. 

Canto XVI. Rama Summoned. 381 

Bard, minstrel, charioteer, 

Well skilled the tuneful chords to sweep, 

With soothing strain to lull to sleep, 

Or laud their master dear. 
Then, like a dolphin darting through 
Unfathomed depths of ocean's blue 

With store of jewels decked, 
Through crowded halls that rock-like rose, 
Or as proud hills where clouds repose, 

Sumantra sped unchecked — 
Halls like the glittering domes on high 
Reared for the dwellers of the sky 

By heavenly architect. 

Canto XVI. Rama Summoned. 

So through the crowded inner door 
Sumantra, skilled in ancient lore, 
On to the private chambers pressed 
Which stood apart from all the rest. 
There youthful warriors, true and bold, 
Whose ears were ringed with polished gold, 
All armed with trusty bows and darts, 
Watched with devoted eyes and hearts. 
And hoary men, a faithful train, 
Whose aged hands held staves of cane, 
The ladies' guard, apparelled fair 
In red attire, were stationed there. 
Soon as they saw Sumantra nigh, 
Each longed his lord to gratify, 
And from his seat beside the door 

382 The Ramayana 

Up sprang each ancient servitor. 
Then to the warders quickly cried 
The skilled Sumantra, void of pride: 
"Tell Rama that the charioteer 
Sumantra waits for audience here." 
The ancient men with one accord 
Seeking the pleasure of their lord, 
Passing with speed the chamber door 
To Rama's ear the message bore. 
Forthwith the prince with duteous heed 
Called in the messenger with speed, 
For 'twas his sire's command, he knew, 
That sent him for the interview. 
Like Lord Kuvera, well arrayed, 

He pressed a couch of gold, 
Wherefrom a covering of brocade 

Hung down in many a fold. 
Oil and the sandal's fragrant dust 

Had tinged his body o'er 
Dark as the stream the spearman's thrust 

Drains from the wounded boar. 
Him Sita watched with tender care, 

A chouri in her hand, 
As Chitra, 281 ever fond in fair, 

Beside the Moon will stand. 
Him glorious with unborrowed light, 
A liberal lord, of sunlike might, 
Sumantra hailed in words like these, 
Well skilled in gentle courtesies, 
As, with joined hands in reverence raised, 
Upon the beauteous prince he gazed: 
"Happy Kausalya! Blest is she, 

281 A star in the spike of Virgo: hence the name of the mouth Chaitra or Chait. 

Canto XVI. Rama Summoned. 383 

The Mother of a son like thee. 
Now rise, O Rama, speed away. 
Go to thy sire without delay: 
For he and Queen Kaikeyi seek 
An interview with thee to speak." 

The lion-lord of men, the best 
Of splendid heroes, thus addressed, 
To Sita spake with joyful cheer: 
"The king and queen, my lady dear, 
Touching the throning, for my sake 
Some salutary counsel take. 
The lady of the full black eye 
Would fain her husband gratify, 
And, all his purpose understood, 
Counsels the monarch to my good. 
A happy fate is mine, I ween, 
When he, consulting with his queen, 
Sumantra on this charge, intent 
Upon my gain and good, has sent. 
An envoy of so noble sort 
Well suits the splendour of the court. 
The consecration rite this day 
Will join me in imperial sway. 
To meet the lord of earth, for so 
His order bids me, I will go. 
Thou, lady, here in comfort stay, 
And with thy maidens rest or play." 

384 The Ramayana 

Thus Rama spake. For meet reply 
The lady of the large black eye 
Attended to the door her lord, 
And blessings on his head implored: 
"The majesty and royal state 
Which holy Brahmans venerate, 
The consecration and the rite 
Which sanctifies the ruler's might, 
And all imperial powers should be 
Thine by thy father's high decree, 
As He, the worlds who formed and planned, 
[112] The kingship gave to Indra's hand. 

Then shall mine eyes my king adore 
When lustral rites and fast are o'er, 
And black deer's skin and roebuck's horn 
Thy lordly limbs and hand adorn. 
May He whose hands the thunder wield 
Be in the east thy guard and shield; 
May Yama's care the south befriend, 
And Varun's arm the west defend; 
And let Kuvera, Lord of Gold, 
The north with firm protection hold." 

Then Rama spoke a kind farewell, 
And hailed the blessings as they fell 
From Sita's gentle lips; and then, 
As a young lion from his den 
Descends the mountain's stony side, 
So from the hall the hero hied. 
First Lakshman at the door he viewed 
Who stood in reverent attitude, 
Then to the central court he pressed 
Where watched the friends who loved him best. 
To all his dear companions there 

Canto XVI. Rama Summoned. 385 

He gave kind looks and greeting fair. 

On to the lofty car that glowed 

Like fire the royal tiger strode. 

Bright as himself its silver shone: 

A tiger's skin was laid thereon. 

With cloudlike thunder, as it rolled, 

It flashed with gems and burnished gold, 

And, like the sun's meridian blaze, 

Blinded the eye that none could gaze. 

Like youthful elephants, tall and strong, 

Fleet coursers whirled the car along: 

In such a car the Thousand-eyed 

Borne by swift horses loves to ride. 

So like Parjanya, 282 when he flies 

Thundering through the autumn skies, 

The hero from the palace sped, 

As leaves the moon some cloud o'erhead. 

Still close to Rama Lakshman kept, 

Behind him to the car he leapt, 

And, watching with fraternal care, 

Waved the long chouri's silver hair, 

As from the palace gate he came 

Up rose the tumult of acclaim. 

While loud huzza and jubilant shout 

Pealed from the gathered myriads out. 

Then elephants, like mountains vast, 

And steeds who all their kind surpassed, 

Followed their lord by hundreds, nay 

By thousands, led in long array. 

First marched a band of warriors trained, 

With sandal dust and aloe stained; 

Well armed was each with sword and bow, 

386 The Ramayana 

And every breast with hope aglow, 
And ever, as they onward went, 

Shouts from the warrior train, 
And every sweet-toned instrument 

Prolonged the minstrel strain. 
On passed the tamer of his foes, 
While well clad dames, in crowded rows, 
Each chamber lattice thronged to view, 
And chaplets on the hero threw. 
Then all, of peerless face and limb, 
Sang Rama's praise for love of him, 
And blent their voices, soft and sweet, 
From palace high and crowded street: 
"Now, sure, Kausalya's heart must swell 
To see the son she loves so well, 
Thee Rama, thee, her joy and pride, 
Triumphant o'er the realm preside." 
Then — for they knew his bride most fair 
Of all who part the soft dark hair, 
His love, his life, possessed the whole 
Of her young hero's heart and soul: — 
"Be sure the lady's fate repays 
Some mighty vow of ancient days, 283 
For blest with Rama's love is she 
As, with the Moon's, sweet Rohini." 284 

Such were the witching words that came 
From lips of many a peerless dame 
Crowding the palace roofs to greet 
The hero as he gained the street. 

284 One of the lunar asterisms, represented as the favourite wife of the Moon. 
See p. 4, note. 

Canto XVII. Rama's Approach. 387 

Canto XVII. Rama's Approach. 

As Rama, rendering blithe and gay 

His loving friends, pursued his way, 

He saw on either hand a press 

Of mingled people numberless. 

The royal street he traversed, where 

Incense of aloe filled the air, 

Where rose high palaces, that vied 

With paly clouds, on either side; 

With flowers of myriad colours graced. 

And food for every varied taste, 

Bright as the glowing path o'erhead 

Which feet of Gods celestial tread, 

Loud benedictions, sweet to hear, 

From countless voices soothed his ear. 

While he to each gave due salute 

His place and dignity to suit: 

"Be thou," the joyful people cried, 

"Be thou our guardian, lord and guide. 

Throned and anointed king to-day, 

Thy feet set forth upon the way 

Wherein, each honoured as a God, 

Thy fathers and forefathers trod. 

Thy sire and his have graced the throne, 

And loving care to us have shown: 

Thus blest shall we and ours remain, 

Yea still more blest in Rama's reign. [113] 

No more of dainty fare we need, 

And but one cherished object heed, 

That we may see our prince today 

Invested with imperial sway." 

388 The Ramayana 

Such were the words and pleasant speech 
That Rama heard, unmoved, from each 
Of the dear friends around him spread, 
As onward through the street he sped, 
For none could turn his eye or thought 
From the dear form his glances sought, 
With fruitless ardour forward cast 
Even when Raghu's son had past. 
And he who saw not Rama nigh, 
Nor caught a look from Rama's eye, 
A mark for scorn and general blame, 
Reproached himself in bitter shame. 
For to each class his equal mind 
With sympathy and love inclined 
Most fully of the princely four, 
So greatest love to him they bore. 

His circling course the hero bent 
Round shrine and altar, reverent, 
Round homes of Gods, where cross-roads met, 
Where many a sacred tree was set. 
Near to his father's house he drew 
Like Indra's beautiful to view, 
And with the light his glory gave 
Within the royal palace drave. 
Through three broad courts, where bowmen kept 
Their watch and ward, his coursers swept, 
Then through the two remaining went 
On foot the prince preeminent. 
Through all the courts the hero passed, 
And gained the ladies' bower at last; 
Then through the door alone withdrew, 
And left without his retinue. 
When thus the monarch's noble boy 

Canto XVIII. The Sentence. 389 

Had gone his sire to meet, 
The multitude, elate with joy, 

Stood watching in the street, 
And his return with eager eyes 

Expected at the gates, 
As for his darling moon to rise 

The King of Rivers 285 waits. 

Canto XVIII. The Sentence. 

With hopeless eye and pallid mien 
There sat the monarch with the queen. 
His father's feet with reverence due 
He clasped, and touched Kaikeyi's too. 
The king, with eyes still brimming o'er, 
Cried Rama! and could do no more. 
His voice was choked, his eye was dim, 
He could not speak or look on him. 
Then sudden fear made Rama shake 
As though his foot had roused a snake, 
Soon as his eyes had seen the change 
So mournful, terrible, and strange. 
For there his reason well-nigh fled, 
Sighing, with soul disquieted, 

To torturing pangs a prey, 
Dismayed, despairing, and distraught, 
In a fierce whirl of wildering thought 

The hapless monarch lay, 
Like Ocean wave-engarlanded 

390 The Ramayana 

Storm-driven from his tranquil bed, 

The Sun-God in eclipse, 
Or like a holy seer, heart-stirred 
With anguish, when a lying word 

Has passed his heedless lips. 
The sight of his dear father, pained 
With woe and misery unexplained 

Filled Rama with unrest, 
As Ocean's pulses rise and swell 
When the great moon he loves so well 

Shines full upon his breast. 
So grieving for his father's sake, 
To his own heart the hero spake: 
"Why will the king my sire to-day 
No kindly word of greeting say? 
At other times, though wroth he be, 
His eyes grow calm that look on me. 
Then why does anguish wring his brow 
To see his well-beloved now?" 
Sick and perplexed, distraught with woe, 
To Queen Kaikeyi bowing low, 
While pallor o'er his bright cheek spread, 
With humble reverence he said: 
"What have I done, unknown, amiss 
To make my father wroth like this? 
Declare it, O dear Queen, and win 
His pardon for my heedless sin. 
Why is the sire I ever find 
Filled with all love to-day unkind? 
With eyes cast down and pallid cheek 
This day alone he will not speak. 
Or lies he prostrate neath the blow 
Of fierce disease or sudden woe? 
For all our bliss is dashed with pain, 

Canto XVIII. The Sentence. 391 

And joy unmixt is hard to gain. 

Does stroke of evil fortune smite 

Dear Bharat, charming to the sight, 

Or on the brave Satrughna fall, 

Or consorts, for he loves them all? 

Against his words when I rebel, 

Or fail to please the monarch well, 

When deeds of mine his soul offend, 

That hour I pray my life may end. 

How should a man to him who gave 

His being and his life behave? 

The sire to whom he owes his birth 

Should be his deity on earth. 

Hast thou, by pride and folly moved, [114] 

With bitter taunt the king reproved? 

Has scorn of thine or cruel jest 

To passion stirred his gentle breast? 

Speak truly, Queen, that I may know 

What cause has changed the monarch so." 

Thus by the high-souled prince addressed, 
Of Raghu's sons the chief and best, 
She cast all ruth and shame aside, 
And bold with greedy words replied: 
"Not wrath, O Rama, stirs the king, 
Nor misery stabs with sudden sting; 
One thought that fills his soul has he, 
But dares not speak for fear of thee. 
Thou art so dear, his lips refrain 
From words that might his darling pain. 
But thou, as duty bids, must still 
The promise of thy sire fulfil. 
He who to me in days gone by 
Vouchsafed a boon with honours high, 

392 The Ramayana 

Dares now, a king, his word regret, 
And caitiff-like disowns the debt. 
The lord of men his promise gave 
To grant the boon that I might crave, 
And now a bridge would idly throw 
When the dried stream has ceased to flow. 
His faith the monarch must not break 
In wrath, or e'en for thy dear sake. 
From faith, as well the righteous know, 
Our virtue and our merits flow. 
Now, be they good or be they ill, 
Do thou thy father's words fulfil: 
Swear that his promise shall not fail, 
And I will tell thee all the tale. 
Yes, Rama, when I hear that thou 
Hast bound thee by thy father's vow, 
Then, not till then, my lips shall speak, 
Nor will he tell what boon I seek." 

He heard, and with a troubled breast 
This answer to the queen addressed: 
"Ah me, dear lady, canst thou deem 
That words like these thy lips beseem? 
I, at the bidding of my sire, 
Would cast my body to the fire, 
A deadly draught of poison drink, 
Or in the waves of ocean sink: 
If he command, it shall be done, — 
My father and my king in one. 
Then speak and let me know the thing 
So longed for by my lord the king. 
It shall be done: let this suffice; 
Rama ne'er makes a promise twice." 

Canto XVIII. The Sentence. 393 

He ended. To the princely youth 
Who loved the right and spoke the truth, 
Cruel, abominable came 
The answer of the ruthless dame: 
"When Gods and Titans fought of yore, 
Transfixed with darts and bathed in gore 
Two boons to me thy father gave 
For the dear life 'twas mine to save. 
Of him I claim the ancient debt, 
That Bharat on the throne be set, 
And thou, O Rama, go this day 
To Dandak forest far away. 
Now, Rama, if thou wilt maintain 
Thy father's faith without a stain, 
And thine own truth and honour clear, 
Then, best of men, my bidding hear. 
Do thou thy father's word obey, 
Nor from the pledge he gave me stray. 
Thy life in Dandak forest spend 
Till nine long years and five shall end. 
Upon my Bharat's princely head 
Let consecrating drops be shed, 
With all the royal pomp for thee 
Made ready by the king's decree. 
Seek Dandak forest and resign 
Rites that would make the empire thine, 
For twice seven years of exile wear 
The coat of bark and matted hair. 
Then in thy stead let Bharat reign 
Lord of his royal sire's domain, 
Rich in the fairest gems that shine, 
Cars, elephants, and steeds, and kine. 
The monarch mourns thy altered fate 
And vails his brow compassionate: 

394 The Ramayana 

Bowed down by bitter grief he lies 
And dares not lift to thine his eyes. 
Obey his word: be firm and brave, 
And with great truth the monarch save." 

While thus with cruel words she spoke, 
No grief the noble youth betrayed; 
But forth the father's anguish broke, 

At his dear Rama's lot dismayed. 

Canto XIX. Rama's Promise. 

Calm and unmoved by threatened woe 
The noble conqueror of the foe 
Answered the cruel words she spoke, 
Nor quailed beneath the murderous stroke: 

"Yea, for my father's promise sake 
I to the wood my way will take, 
And dwell a lonely exile there 
In hermit dress with matted hair. 
One thing alone I fain would learn, 
Why is the king this day so stern? 
Why is the scourge of foes so cold, 
Nor gives me greeting as of old? 
Now let not anger flush thy cheek: 
Before thy face the truth I speak, 
In hermit's coat with matted hair 
To the wild wood will I repair. 
How can I fail his will to do, 
Friend, master, grateful sovereign too? 
One only pang consumes my breast: 

Canto XIX. Rama's Promise. 395 

That his own lips have not expressed 

His will, nor made his longing known 

That Bharat should ascend the throne. [115] 

To Bharat I would yield my wife, 

My realm and wealth, mine own dear life, 

Unasked I fain would yield them all: 

More gladly at my father's call, 

More gladly when the gift may free 

His honour and bring joy to thee. 

Thus, lady, his sad heart release 

From the sore shame, and give him peace. 

But tell me, O, I pray thee, why 

The lord of men, with downcast eye, 

Lies prostrate thus, and one by one 

Down his pale cheek the tear-drops run. 

Let couriers to thy father speed 

On horses of the swiftest breed, 

And, by the mandate of the king, 

Thy Bharat to his presence bring. 

My father's words I will not stay 

To question, but this very day 

To Dandak's pathless wild will fare, 

For twice seven years an exile there." 

When Rama thus had made reply 
Kaikeyfs heart with joy beat high. 
She, trusting to the pledge she held, 
The youth's departure thus impelled: 
"Tis well. Be messengers despatched 
On coursers ne'er for fleetness matched, 
To seek my father's home and lead 
My Bharat back with all their speed. 
And, Rama, as I ween that thou 
Wilt scarce endure to linger now, 

396 The Ramayana 

So surely it were wise and good 

This hour to journey to the wood. 

And if, with shame cast down and weak, 

No word to thee the king can speak, 

Forgive, and from thy mind dismiss 

A trifle in an hour like this. 

But till thy feet in rapid haste 

Have left the city for the waste, 

And to the distant forest fled, 

He will not bathe nor call for bread." 

"Woe! woe!" from the sad monarch burst, 
In surging floods of grief immersed; 
Then swooning, with his wits astray, 
Upon the gold-wrought couch he lay, 
And Rama raised the aged king: 
But the stern queen, unpitying, 
Checked not her needless words, nor spared 
The hero for all speed prepared, 
But urged him with her bitter tongue, 
Like a good horse with lashes stung, 
She spoke her shameful speech. Serene 
He heard the fury of the queen, 
And to her words so vile and dread 
Gently, unmoved in mind, he said: 
"I would not in this world remain 
A grovelling thrall to paltry gain, 
But duty's path would fain pursue, 
True as the saints themselves are true. 
From death itself I would not fly 
My father's wish to gratify, 
What deed soe'er his loving son 
May do to please him, think it done. 
Amid all duties, Queen, I count 

Canto XIX. Rama's Promise. 397 

This duty first and paramount, 

That sons, obedient, aye fulfil 

Their honoured fathers' word and will. 

Without his word, if thou decree, 

Forth to the forest will I flee, 

And there shall fourteen years be spent 

Mid lonely wilds in banishment. 

Methinks thou couldst not hope to find 

One spark of virtue in my mind, 

If thou, whose wish is still my lord, 

Hast for this grace the king implored. 

This day I go, but, ere we part, 

Must cheer my Sita's tender heart, 

To my dear mother bid farewell; 

Then to the woods, a while to dwell. 

With thee, O Queen, the care must rest 

That Bharat hear his sire's behest, 

And guard the land with righteous sway, 

For such the law that lives for aye." 

In speechless woe the father heard, 
Wept with loud cries, but spoke no word. 
Then Rama touched his senseless feet, 
And hers, for honour most unmeet; 
Round both his circling steps he bent, 
Then from the bower the hero went. 
Soon as he reached the gate he found 
His dear companions gathered round. 
Behind him came Sumitra's child 
With weeping eyes so sad and wild. 
Then saw he all that rich array 
Of vases for the glorious day. 
Round them with reverent stops he paced, 
Nor vailed his eye, nor moved in haste. 

398 The Ramayana 

The loss of empire could not dim 
The glory that encompassed him. 
So will the Lord of Cooling Rays 286 
On whom the world delights to gaze, 
Through the great love of all retain 
Sweet splendour in the time of wane. 
Now to the exile's lot resigned 
He left the rule of earth behind: 
As though all worldly cares he spurned 
No trouble was in him discerned. 
The chouries that for kings are used, 
And white umbrella, he refused, 
Dismissed his chariot and his men, 
And every friend and citizen. 
He ruled his senses, nor betrayed 
The grief that on his bosom weighed, 
And thus his mother's mansion sought 
To tell the mournful news he brought. 
Nor could the gay-clad people there 
Who flocked round Rama true and fair, 
One sign of altered fortune trace 
Upon the splendid hero's face. 
Nor had the chieftain, mighty-armed, 
[116] Lost the bright look all hearts that charmed, 

As e'en from autumn moons is thrown 
A splendour which is all their own. 
With his sweet voice the hero spoke 
Saluting all the gathered folk, 
Then righteous-souled and great in fame 
Close to his mother's house he came. 
Lakshman the brave, his brother's peer 
In princely virtues, followed near, 

Canto XX. Kausalya's Lament. 399 

Sore troubled, but resolved to show 
No token of his secret woe. 
Thus to the palace Rama went 

Where all were gay with hope and joy; 
But well he knew the dire event 

That hope would mar, that bliss destroy. 
So to his grief he would not yield 

Lest the sad change their hearts might rend, 
And, the dread tiding unrevealed, 

Spared from the blow each faithful friend. 

Canto XX. Kausalya's Lament. 

But in the monarch's palace, when 
Sped from the bower that lord of men, 
Up from the weeping women went 
A mighty wail and wild lament: 
"Ah, he who ever freely did 
His duty ere his sire could bid, 
Our refuge and our sure defence, 
This day will go an exile hence, 
He on Kausalya loves to wait 
Most tender and affectionate, 
And as he treats his mother, thus 
From childhood has he treated us. 
On themes that sting he will not speak, 
And when reviled is calm and meek. 
He soothes the angry, heals offence: 
He goes to-day an exile hence. 
Our lord the king is most unwise, 
And looks on life with doting eyes, 

400 The Ramayana 

Who in his folly casts away 

The world's protection, hope, and stay." 

Thus in their woe, like kine bereaved 
Of their young calves, 287 the ladies grieved, 
And ever as they wept and wailed 
With keen reproach the king assailed. 
Their lamentation, mixed with tears, 
Smote with new grief the monarch's ears, 
Who, burnt with woe too great to bear, 
Fell on his couch and fainted there. 

Then Rama, smitten with the pain 
His heaving heart could scarce restrain, 
Groaned like an elephant and strode 
With Lakshman to the queen's abode. 
A warder there, whose hoary eld 
In honour high by all was held, 
Guarding the mansion, sat before 
The portal, girt with many more. 
Swift to their feet the warders sprang, 
And loud the acclamation rang, 
Hail, Rama! as to him they bent, 
Of victor chiefs preeminent. 
One court he passed, and in the next 
Saw, masters of each Veda text, 
A crowd of Brahmans, good and sage, 

287 The comparison may to a European reader seem a homely one. But Spenser 
likens an infuriate woman to a cow "That is berobbed of her youngling dere." 
Shakspeare also makes King Henry VI compare himself to the calf s mother 
that "Runs lowing up and down, Looking the way her harmless young one 
went." "Cows," says De Quincey, "are amongst the gentlest of breathing crea- 
tures; none show more passionate tenderness to their young, when deprived of 
them, and, in short, I am not ashamed to profess a deep love for these gentle 

Canto XX. Kausalya's Lament. 401 

Dear to the king for lore and age. 

To these he bowed his reverent head, 

Thence to the court beyond he sped. 

Old dames and tender girls, their care 

To keep the doors, were stationed there. 

And all, when Rama came in view, 

Delighted to the chamber flew, 

To bear to Queen Kausalya's ear 

The tidings that she loved to hear. 

The queen, on rites and prayer intent, 

In careful watch the night had spent, 

And at the dawn, her son to aid, 

To Vishnu holy offerings made. 

Firm in her vows, serenely glad, 

In robes of spotless linen clad, 

As texts prescribe, with grace implored, 

Her offerings in the fire she poured. 

Within her splendid bower he came, 

And saw her feed the sacred flame. 

There oil, and grain, and vases stood, 

With wreaths, and curds, and cates, and wood, 

And milk, and sesamum, and rice, 

The elements of sacrifice. 

She, worn and pale with many a fast 

And midnight hours in vigil past, 

In robes of purest white arrayed, 

To Lakshmi Queen drink-offerings paid. 

So long away, she flew to meet 

The darling of her soul: 
So runs a mare with eager feet 

To welcome back her foal. 
He with his firm support upheld 

The queen, as near she drew, 
And, by maternal love impelled, 

402 The Ramayana 

Her arms around him threw. 
Her hero son, her matchless boy 

She kissed upon the head: 
She blessed him in her pride and joy 
[117] With tender words, and said: 

"Be like thy royal sires of old, 
The nobly good, the lofty-souled! 
Their lengthened days and fame be thine, 
And virtue, as beseems thy line! 
The pious king, thy father, see 
True to his promise made to thee: 
That truth thy sire this day will show, 
And regent's power on thee bestow." 

She spoke. He took the proffered seat, 
And as she pressed her son to eat, 
Raised reverent bands, and, touched with shame, 
Made answer to the royal dame: 
"Dear lady, thou hast yet to know 
That danger threats, and heavy woe: 
A grief that will with sore distress 
On Sita, thee, and Lakshman press. 
What need of seats have such as I? 
This day to Dandak wood I fly. 
The hour is come, a time, unmeet 
For silken couch and gilded seat. 
I must to lonely wilds repair, 
Abstain from flesh, and living there 
On roots, fruit, honey, hermit's food, 
Pass twice seven years in solitude. 
To Bharat's hand the king will yield 
The regent power I thought to wield, 
And me, a hermit, will he send 
My days in Dandak wood to spend." 

Canto XX. Kausalya's Lament. 403 

As when the woodman's axe has lopped 
A Sal branch in the grove, she dropped: 
So from the skies a Goddess falls 
Ejected from her radiant halls. 

When Rama saw her lying low, 
Prostrate by too severe a blow, 
Around her form his arms he wound 
And raised her fainting from the ground. 
His hand upheld her like a mare 
Who feels her load too sore to bear, 
And sinks upon the way o'ertoiled, 
And all her limbs with dust are soiled. 
He soothed her in her wild distress 
With loving touch and soft caress. 
She, meet for highest fortune, eyed 
The hero watching by her side, 
And thus, while Lakshman bent to hear, 
Addressed her son with many a tear! 
"If, Rama, thou had ne'er been born 
My child to make thy mother mourn, 
Though reft of joy, a childless queen, 
Such woe as this I ne'er had seen. 
Though to the childless wife there clings 
One sorrow armed with keenest stings, 
"No child have I: no child have I," 
No second misery prompts the sigh. 
When long I sought, alas, in vain, 
My husband's love and bliss to gain, 
In Rama all my hopes I set 
And dreamed I might be happy yet. 
I, of the consorts first and best, 
Must bear my rivals' taunt and jest, 
And brook, though better far than they, 

404 The Ramayana 

The soul distressing words they say. 

What woman can be doomed to pine 

In misery more sore than mine, 

Whose hopeless days must still be spent 

In grief that ends not and lament? 

They scorned me when my son was nigh; 

When he is banished I must die. 

Me, whom my husband never prized, 

Kaikeyfs retinue despised 

With boundless insolence, though she 

Tops not in rank nor equals me. 

And they who do me service yet, 

Nor old allegiance quite forget, 

Whene'er they see Kaikeyfs son, 

With silent lips my glances shun. 

How, O my darling, shall I brook 

Each menace of Kaikeyfs look, 

And listen, in my low estate, 

To taunts of one so passionate? 

For seventeen years since thou wast born 

I sat and watched, ah me, forlorn! 

Hoping some blessed day to see 

Deliverance from my woes by thee. 

Now comes this endless grief and wrong, 

So dire I cannot bear it long, 

Sinking, with age and sorrow worn, 

Beneath my rivals' taunts and scorn. 

How shall I pass in dark distress 

My long lone days of wretchedness 

Without my Rama's face, as bright 

As the full moon to cheer my sight? 

Alas, my cares thy steps to train, 

And fasts, and vows, and prayers are vain. 

Hard, hard, I ween, must be this heart 

Canto XXI. Kausalya Calmed. 405 

To hear this blow nor burst apart, 
As some great river bank, when first 
The floods of Rain-time on it burst. 
No, Fate that speeds not will not slay, 

Nor Yama's halls vouchsafe me room, 
Or, like a lion's weeping prey, 

Death now had borne me to my doom. 
Hard is my heart and wrought of steel 

That breaks not with the crushing blow, 
Or in the pangs this day I feel 

My lifeless frame had sunk below. 
Death waits his hour, nor takes me now: 

But this sad thought augments my pain, 
That prayer and largess, fast and vow, 

And Heavenward service are in vain. 
Ah me, ah me! with fruitless toil 

Of rites austere a child I sought: 
Thus seed cast forth on barren soil 

Still lifeless lies and comes to naught. 
If ever wretch by anguish grieved 

Before his hour to death had fled, 
I mourning, like a cow bereaved, 

Had been this day among the dead." 


Canto XXI. Kausalya Calmed. 

406 The Ramayana 

While thus Kausalya wept and sighed, 
With timely words sad Lakshman cried: 
"O honoured Queen I like it ill 
That, subject to a woman's will, 
Rama his royal state should quit 
And to an exile's doom submit. 
The aged king, fond, changed, and weak, 
Will as the queen compels him speak. 
But why should Rama thus be sent 
To the wild woods in banishment? 
No least offence I find in him, 
I see no fault his fame to dim. 
Not one in all the world I know, 
Not outcast wretch, not secret foe, 
Whose whispering lips would dare assail 
His spotless life with slanderous tale. 
Godlike and bounteous, just, sincere, 
E'en to his very foemen dear: 
Who would without a cause neglect 
The right, and such a son reject? 
And if a king such order gave, 
In second childhood, passion's slave, 
What son within his heart would lay 
The senseless order, and obey? 
Come, Rama, ere this plot be known 
Stand by me and secure the throne. 
Stand like the King who rules below, 
Stand aided by thy brother's bow: 
How can the might of meaner men 
Resist thy royal purpose then? 
My shafts, if rebels court their fate, 
Shall lay Ayodhya desolate. 
Then shall her streets with blood be dyed 
Of those who stand on Bharat's side: 

Canto XXI. Kausalya Calmed. 407 

None shall my slaughtering hand exempt, 

For gentle patience earns contempt. 

If, by Kaikeyi's counsel changed, 

Our father's heart be thus estranged, 

No mercy must our arm restrain, 

But let the foe be slain, be slain. 

For should the guide, respected long, 

No more discerning right and wrong, 

Turn in forbidden paths to stray, 

Tis meet that force his steps should stay. 

What power sufficient can he see, 

What motive for the wish has he, 

That to Kaikeyi would resign 

The empire which is justly thine? 

Can he, O conqueror of thy foes, 

Thy strength and mine in war oppose? 

Can he entrust, in our despite, 

To Bharat's hand thy royal right? 

I love this brother with the whole 

Affection of my faithful soul. 

Yea Queen, by bow and truth I swear, 

By sacrifice, and gift, and prayer, 

If Rama to the forest goes, 

Or where the burning furnace glows, 

First shall my feet the forest tread, 

The flames shall first surround my head. 

My might shall chase thy grief and tears, 

As darkness flies when morn appears. 

Do thou, dear Queen, and Rama too 

Behold what power like mine can do. 

My aged father I will kill, 

The vassal of Kaikeyi's will, 

Old, yet a child, the woman's thrall, 

Infirm, and base, the scorn of all." 

408 The Ramayana 

Thus Lakshman cried, the mighty-souled: 
Down her sad cheeks the torrents rolled, 
As to her son Kausalya spake: 

"Now thou hast heard thy brother, take 
His counsel if thou hold it wise, 
And do the thing his words advise, 
Do not, my son, with tears I pray, 
My rival's wicked word obey, 
Leave me not here consumed with woe, 
Nor to the wood, an exile, go. 
If thou, to virtue ever true, 
Thy duty's path would still pursue, 
The highest duty bids thee stay 
And thus thy mother's voice obey. 
Thus Kasyap's great ascetic son 
A seat among the Immortals won: 
In his own home, subdued, he stayed, 
And honour to his mother paid. 
If reverence to thy sire be due, 
Thy mother claims like honour too, 
And thus I charge thee, O my child, 
Thou must not seek the forest wild. 
Ah, what to me were life and bliss, 
Condemned my darling son to miss? 
But with my Rama near, to eat 
The very grass itself were sweet. 
But if thou still wilt go and leave 
Thy hapless mother here to grieve, 
I from that hour will food abjure, 
Nor life without my son endure. 
Then it will be thy fate to dwell 
In depth of world-detested hell. 
As Ocean in the olden time 

Canto XXI. Kausalya Calmed. 409 

Was guilty of an impious crime 

That marked the lord of each fair flood 

As one who spills a Brahman's blood." 288 

Thus spake the queen, and wept, and sighed: 
Then righteous Rama thus replied: 
"I have no power to slight or break 
Commandments which my father spake. 
I bend my head, dear lady, low, 
Forgive me, for I needs must go. 
Once Kandu, mighty saint, who made 

His dwelling in the forest shade, [119] 

A cow — and duty's claims he knew — 
Obedient to his father, slew. 
And in the line from which we spring, 
When ordered by their sire the king, 
Through earth the sons of Sagar cleft, 
And countless things of life bereft. 289 
So Jamadagni's son 290 obeyed 
His sire, when in the wood he laid 
His hand upon his axe, and smote 
Through Renuka his mother's throat. 
The deeds of these and more beside. 
Peers of the Gods, my steps shall guide, 
And resolute will I fulfil 
My father's word, my father's will. 
Nor I, O Queen, unsanctioned tread 
This righteous path, by duty led: 
The road my footsteps journey o'er 
Was traversed by the great of yore. 

288 The commentators say that, in a former creation, Ocean grieved his mother 
and suffered in consequence the pains of hell. 

410 The Ramayana 

This high command which all accept 

Shall faithfully by me be kept, 

For duty ne'er will him forsake 

Who fears his sire's command to break." 

Thus to his mother wild with grief: 
Then thus to Lakshman spake the chief 
Of those by whom the bow is bent, 
Mid all who speak, most eloquent: 
"I know what love for me thou hast, 
What firm devotion unsurpassed: 
Thy valour and thy worth I know, 
And glory that appals the foe. 
Blest youth, my mother's woe is great, 
It bends her 'neath its matchless weight: 
No claims will she, with blinded eyes, 
Of truth and patience recognize. 
For duty is supreme in place, 
And truth is duty's noblest base. 
Obedient to my sire's behest 
I serve the cause of duty best. 
For man should truly do whate'er 
To mother, Brahman, sire, he sware: 
He must in duty's path remain, 
Nor let his word be pledged in vain. 
And, O my brother, how can I 
Obedience to this charge deny? 
Kaikeyfs tongue my purpose spurred, 
But 'twas my sire who gave the word. 
Cast these unholy thoughts aside 
Which smack of war and Warriors' pride; 
To duty's call, not wrath attend, 
And tread the path which I commend." 

Canto XXI. Kausalya Calmed. 411 

Rama by fond affection moved 
His brother Lakshman thus reproved; 
Then with joined hands and reverent head 
Again to Queen Kausalya said: 

"I needs must go — do thou consent — 
To the wild wood in banishment. 
O give me, by my life I pray, 
Thy blessing ere I go away. 
I, when the promised years are o'er, 
Shall see Ayodhya's town once more. 
Then, mother dear, thy tears restrain, 
Nor let thy heart be wrung by pain: 
In time, my father's will obeyed, 
Shall I return from greenwood shade. 
My dear Videhan, thou, and I, 
Lakshman, Sumitra, feel this tie, 
And must my father's word obey, 
As duty bids that rules for aye. 
Thy preparations now forgo, 
And lock within thy breast thy woe, 
Nor be my pious wish withstood 
To go an exile to the wood." 

Calm and unmoved the prince explained 

His duty's claim and purpose high, 
The mother life and sense regained, 

Looked on her son and made reply: 
"If reverence be thy father's due, 

The same by right and love is mine: 
Go not, my charge I thus renew, 

Nor leave me here in woe to pine, 
What were such lonely life to me, 

Rites to the shades, or deathless lot? 

412 The Ramayana 

More dear, my son, one hour with thee 

Than all the world where thou art not." 
As bursts to view, when brands blaze high, 

Some elephant concealed by night, 
So, when he heard his mother's cry, 

Burnt Rama's grief with fiercer might. 
Thus to the queen, half senseless still, 

And Lakshman, burnt with heart-felt pain, 
True to the right, with steadfast will, 

His duteous speech he spoke again: 
"Brother, I know thy loving mind, 

Thy valour and thy truth I know, 
But now to claims of duty blind 

Thou and my mother swell my woe. 
The fruits of deeds in human life 

Make love, gain, duty, manifest, 
Dear when they meet as some fond wife 

With her sweet babes upon her breast. 
But man to duty first should turn 

Whene'er the three are not combined: 
For those who heed but gain we spurn, 

And those to pleasure all resigned. 
Shall then the virtuous disobey 

Hosts of an aged king and sire, 
Though feverous joy that father sway, 

Or senseless love or causeless ire? 
I have no power, commanded thus, 

To slight his promise and decree: 
The honoured sire of both of us, 

My mother's lord and life is he. 
Shall she, while yet the holy king 

Is living, on the right intent, — 
Shall she, like some poor widowed thing, 

Go forth with me to banishment? 

Canto XXII. Lakshman Calmed. 4 1 3 

Now, mother, speed thy parting son, 

And let thy blessing soothe my pain, [120] 

That I may turn, mine exile done, 

Like King Yayati, home again. 
Fair glory and the fruit she gives, 

For lust of sway I ne'er will slight: 
What, for the span a mortal lives. 

Were rule of faith without the right?" 
He soothed her thus, firm to the last 

His counsel to his brother told: 
Then round the queen in reverence passed, 

And held her in his loving hold. 

Canto XXII. Lakshman Calmed. 

So Rama kept unshaken still 
His noble heart with iron will. 
To his dear brother next he turned, 
Whose glaring eyes with fury burned, 
Indignant, panting like a snake, 
And thus again his counsel spake: 
"Thine anger and thy grief restrain, 
And firm in duty's path remain. 
Dear brother, lay thy scorn aside, 
And be the right thy joy and pride. 
Thy ready zeal and thoughtful care 
To aid what rites should grace the heir,— 
These 'tis another's now to ask; 
Come, gird thee for thy noble task, 
That Bharat's throning rites may he 
Graced with the things prepared for me. 

414 The Ramayana 

And with thy gentle care provide 

That her fond heart, now sorely tried 

With fear and longing for my sake, 

With doubt and dread may never ache. 

To know that thoughts of coming ill 

One hour that tender bosom fill 

With agony and dark despair 

Is grief too great for me to bear. 

I cannot, brother, call to mind 

One wilful fault or undesigned, 

When I have pained in anything 

My mothers or my sire the king. 

The right my father keeps in view, 

In promise, word, and action true; 

Let him then all his fear dismiss, 

Nor dread the loss of future bliss. 

He fears his truth herein will fail: 

Hence bitter thoughts his heart assail. 

He trembles lest the rites proceed, 

And at his pangs my heart should bleed. 

So now this earnest wish is mine, 

The consecration to resign, 

And from this city turn away 

To the wild wood with no delay. 

My banishment to-day will free 

Kaikeyi from her cares, that she, 

At last contented and elate, 

May Bharat's throning celebrate. 

Then will the lady's trouble cease, 

Then will her heart have joy and peace, 

When wandering in the wood I wear 

Deerskin, and bark, and matted hair. 

Nor shall by me his heart be grieved 

Whose choice approved, whose mind conceived 

Canto XXII. Lakshman Calmed. 4 1 5 

This counsel which I follow. No, 

Forth to the forest will I go. 

Tis Fate, Sumitras son, confess, 

That sends me to the wilderness. 

'Tis Fate alone that gives away 

To other hands the royal sway. 

How could Kaikeyfs purpose bring 

On me this pain and suffering, 

Were not her change of heart decreed 

By Fate whose will commands the deed? 

I know my filial love has been 

The same throughout for every queen, 

And with the same affection she 

Has treated both her son and me. 

Her shameful words of cruel spite 

To stay the consecrating rite, 

And drive me banished from the throne, — 

These I ascribe to Fate alone, 

How could she, born of royal race, 

Whom nature decks with fairest grace, 

Speak like a dame of low degree 

Before the king to torture me? 

But Fate, which none may comprehend, 

To which all life must bow and bend, 

In her and me its power has shown, 

And all my hopes are overthrown. 

What man, Sumitra's darling, may 

Contend with Fate's resistless sway, 

Whose all-commanding power we find 

Our former deeds alone can bind? 

Our life and death, our joy and pain, 

Anger and fear, and loss and gain, 

Each thing that is, in every state, 

All is the work of none but Fate. 

416 The Ramayana 

E'en saints, inspired with rigid zeal, 
When once the stroke of Fate they feel, 
In sternest vows no more engage, 
And fall enslaved by love and rage. 
So now the sudden stroke whose weight 
Descends unlooked for, comes of Fate, 
And with unpitying might destroys 
The promise of commencing joys. 
Weigh this true counsel in thy soul: 
With thy firm heart thy heart control; 
Then, brother, thou wilt cease to grieve 
For hindered rites which now I leave. 
So cast thy needless grief away, 
And strictly my commands obey. 
Those preparations check with speed, 
Nor let my throning rites proceed. 
Those urns that stand prepared to shed 
King-making drops upon my head, 
Shall, with their pure lustrations now 
[121] Inaugurate my hermit's vow. 

Yet what have I to do with things 
That touch the state and pomp of kings? 
These hands of mine shall water take 
To sanctify the vow I make. 
Now Lakshman, let thy heart no more 
My fortune changed and lost deplore. 
A forest life more joys may bring 
Than those that wait upon a king, 
Now though her arts successful mar 

My consecrating rite, 
Let not the youngest queen too far 

Thy jealous fear excite. 
Nor let one thought suggesting ill 

Upon our father fall, 

Canto XXIII. Lakshman's Anger. 417 

But let thy heart remember still 
That Fate is lord of all." 

Canto XXIII. Lakshman's Anger. 

Thus Rama to his brother said; 

And Lakshman bent his drooping head. 

In turns by grief and pride impelled, 

A middle course of thought he held, 

Then in a frown of anger, bent 

His brows that chief most excellent, 

And like a serpent in his hole, 

Breathed fierce and fast in wrath of soul. 

His threatening brows so darkly frowned, 

His eyes so fiercely glanced around, 

They made his glare, which none might brook, 

Like some infuriate lion's look. 

Like some wild elephant, full oft 

He raised and shook his hand 291 aloft. 

Now turned his neck to left and right 

Now bent, now raised its stately height. 

Now in his rage that sword he felt 

Which mangling wounds to foemen dealt, 

With sidelong glance his brother eyed, 

And thus in burning words replied: 

"Thy rash resolve, thy eager haste, 

Thy mighty fear, are all misplaced: 

No room is here for duty's claim, 

291 The Sanskrit word hasta signifies both hand, and the trunk of "The beast 
that bears between his eyes a serpent for a head." 

418 The Ramayana 

No cause to dread the people's blame. 
Can one as brave as thou consent 
To use a coward's argument? 
The glory of the Warrior race 
With craven speech his lips debase? 
Can one like thee so falsely speak, 
Exalting Fate, confessed so weak? 
Canst thou, undoubting still restrain? 
Suspicions of those sinful twain? 
Canst thou, most duteous, fail to know 
Their hearts are set on duty's show? 
They with deceit have set their trains, 
And now the fruit rewards their pains. 
Had they not long ago agreed, 

Rama, on this treacherous deed, 
That promised boon, so long retained, 
He erst had given and she had gained. 

1 cannot, O my brother, bear 
To see another throned as heir 
With rites which all our people hate: 
Then, O, this passion tolerate. 

This vaunted duty which can guide 

Thy steps from wisdom's path aside, 

And change the counsel of thy breast, 

O lofty-hearted, I detest. 

Wilt thou, when power and might are thine, 

Submit to this abhorred design? 

Thy father's impious hest fulfil, 

That vassal of Kaikeyi's will? 

But if thou still wilt shut thine eyes, 

Nor see the guile herein that lies, 

My soul is sad, I deeply mourn, 

And duty seems a thing to scorn. 

Canst thou one moment think to please 

Canto XXIII. Lakshman's Anger. 419 

This pair who live for love and ease, 

And 'gainst thy peace, as foes, allied, 

With tenderest names their hatred hide? 

Now if thy judgment still refers 

To Fate this plot of his and hers, 

My mind herein can ne'er agree: 

And O, in this be ruled by me. 

Weak, void of manly pride are they 

Who bend to Fate's imputed sway: 

The choicest souls, the nobly great 

Disdain to bow their heads to Fate. 

And he who dares his Fate control 

With vigorous act and manly soul, 

Though threatening Fate his hopes assail, 

Unmoved through all need never quail. 

This day mankind shall learn aright 

The power of Fate and human might, 

So shall the gulf that lies between 

A man and Fate be clearly seen. 

The might of Fate subdued by me 

This hour the citizens shall see, 

Who saw its intervention stay 

Thy consecrating rites to-day. 

My power shall turn this Fate aside, 

That threatens, as, with furious stride, 

An elephant who scorns to feel, 

In rage unchecked, the driver's steel. 

Not the great Lords whose sleepless might 

Protects the worlds, shall stay the rite 

Though earth, hell, heaven combine their powers: 

And shall we fear this sire of ours? 

Then if their minds are idly bent 

To doom thee, King, to banishment, 

Through twice seven years of exile they [122] 

420 The Ramayana 

Shall in the lonely forest stay. 
I will consume the hopes that fire 
The queen Kaikeyi and our sire, 
That to her son this check will bring 
Advantage, making Bharat king. 
The power of Fate will ne'er withstand 
The might that arms my vigorous hand; 
If danger and distress assail, 
My fearless strength will still prevail. 
A thousand circling years shall flee: 
The forest then thy home shall be, 
And thy good sons, succeeding, hold 
The empire which their sire controlled. 
The royal saints, of old who reigned, 
For aged kings this rest ordained: 
These to their sons their realm commit 
That they, like sires, may cherish it. 
O pious soul, if thou decline 
The empire which is justly thine, 
Lest, while the king distracted lies, 
Disorder in the state should rise, 
I, — or no mansion may I find 
In worlds to hero souls assigned, — 
The guardian of thy realm will be, 
As the sea-bank protects the sea. 
Then cast thine idle fears aside: 
With prosperous rites be sanctified. 
The lords of earth may strive in vain: 
My power shall all their force restrain. 
My pair of arms, my warrior's bow 
Are not for pride or empty show: 
For no support these shafts were made; 
And binding up ill suits my blade: 
To pierce the foe with deadly breach — 

Canto XXIII. Lakshman's Anger. 421 

This is the work of all and each. 
But small, methinks the love I show 
For him I count my mortal foe. 
Soon as my trenchant steel is bare, 
Flashing its lightning through the air, 
I heed no foe, nor stand aghast 
Though Indra's self the levin cast. 
Then shall the ways be hard to pass, 
Where chariots lie in ruinous mass; 
When elephant and man and steed 
Crushed in the murderous onslaught bleed, 
And legs and heads fall, heap on heap, 
Beneath my sword's tremendous sweep. 
Struck by my keen brand's trenchant blade, 
Thine enemies shall fall dismayed, 
Like towering mountains rent in twain, 
Or lightning clouds that burst in rain. 
When armed with brace and glove I stand, 
And take my trusty bow in hand, 
Who then shall vaunt his might? who dare 
Count him a man to meet me there? 
Then will I loose my shafts, and strike 
Man, elephant, and steed alike: 
At one shall many an arrow fly, 
And many a foe with one shall die. 
This day the world my power shall see, 
That none in arms can rival me: 
My strength the monarch shall abase, 
And set thee, lord, in lordliest place. 
These arms which breathe the sandal's scent, 
Which golden bracelets ornament, 
These hands which precious gifts bestow, 
Which guard the friend and smite the foe, 
A nobler service shall assay, 

422 The Ramayana 

And fight in Rama's cause to-day, 
The robbers of thy rights to stay. 

Speak, brother, tell thy foeman's name 

Whom I, in conquering strife, 
May strip of followers and fame, 

Of fortune, or of life. 
Say, how may all this sea-girt land 

Be brought to own thy sway: 
Thy faithful servant here I stand 

To listen and obey." 
Then strove the bride of Raghu's race 

Sad Lakshman's heart to cheer, 
While slowly down the hero's face, 

Unchecked, there rolled a tear. 
"The orders of my sire," he cried, 

"My will shall ne'er oppose: 
I follow still, whate'er betide, 

The path which duty shows." 

Canto XXIV. Kausalya Calmed. 

But when Kausalyasaw that he 
Resolved to keep his sire's decree, 
While tears and sobs her utterance broke, 
Her very righteous speech she spoke: 
"Can he, a stranger yet to pain, 
Whose pleasant words all hearts enchain, 
Son of the king and me the queen, 
Live on the grain his hands may glean; 
Can he, whose slaves and menials eat 
The finest cakes of sifted wheat — 

Canto XXIV. Kausalya Calmed. 423 

Can Rama in the forest live 

On roots and fruit which woodlands give; 

Who will believe, who will not fear 

When the sad story smites his ear, 

That one so dear, so noble held, 

Is by the king his sire expelled? 

Now surely none may Fate resist, 

Which orders all as it may list, 

If, Rama, in thy strength and grace, 

The woods become thy dwelling-place. 

A childless mother long I grieved, 

And many a sigh for offspring heaved, 

With wistful longing weak and worn 

Till thou at last, my son, wast born. 

Fanned by the storm of that desire 

Deep in my soul I felt the fire, 

Whose offerings flowed from weeping eyes, 

With fuel fed of groans and sighs, [123] 

While round the flame the smoke grew hot 

Of tears because thou earnest not. 

Now reft of thee, too fiery fierce 

The flame of woe my heart will pierce, 

As, when the days of spring return, 

The sun's hot beams the forest burn. 

The mother cow still follows near 

The wanderings of her youngling dear. 

So close to thine my feet shall be, 

Where'er thou goest following thee." 

Rama, the noblest lord of men, 
Heard his fond mother's speech, and then 
In soothing words like these replied 
To the sad queen who wept and sighed: 
"Nay, by Kaikeyfs art beguiled, 

424 The Ramayana 

When I am banished to the wild, 

If thou, my mother, also fly, 

The aged king will surely die. 

When wedded dames their lords forsake, 

Long for the crime their souls shall ache. 

Thou must not e'en in thought within 

Thy bosom frame so dire a sin. 

Long as Kakutstha's son, who reigns 

Lord of the earth, in life remains, 

Thou must with love his will obey: 

This duty claims, supreme for aye. 

Yes, mother, thou and I must be 

Submissive to my sire's decree, 

King, husband, sire is he confessed, 

The lord of all, the worthiest. 

I in the wilds my days will spend 

Till twice seven years have reached an end, 

Then with great joy will come again, 

And faithful to thy hests remain." 

Kausalya by her son addressed, 
With love and passion sore distressed, 
Afflicted, with her eyes bedewed, 
To Rama thus her speech renewed: 

"Nay, Rama, but my heart will break 
If with these queens my home I make. 
Lead me too with thee; let me go 
And wander like a woodland roe." 

Then, while no tear the hero shed, 
Thus to the weeping queen he said: 
"Mother, while lives the husband, he 
Is woman's lord and deity. 
O dearest lady, thou and I 
Our lord and king must ne'er deny; 

Canto XXIV. Kausalya Calmed. 425 

The lord of earth himself have we 
Our guardian wise and friend to be. 
And Bharat, true to duty's call, 
Whose sweet words take the hearts of all, 
Will serve thee well, and ne'er forget 
The virtuous path before him set. 
Be this, I pray, thine earnest care, 
That the old king my father ne'er, 
When I have parted hence, may know, 
Grieved for his son, a pang of woe. 
Let not this grief his soul distress, 
To kill him with the bitterness. 
With duteous care, in every thing, 
Love, comfort, cheer the aged king. 
Though, best of womankind, a spouse 
Keeps firmly all her fasts and vows, 
Nor yet her husband's will obeys, 
She treads in sin's forbidden ways. 
She to her husband's will who bends, 
Goes to high bliss that never ends, 
Yea, though the Gods have found in her 
No reverential worshipper. 
Bent on his weal, a woman still 
Must seek to do her husband's will: 
For Scripture, custom, law uphold 
This duty Heaven revealed of old. 
Honour true Brahmans for my sake, 
And constant offerings duly make, 
With fire-oblations and with flowers, 
To all the host of heavenly powers. 
Look to the coming time, and yearn 
For the glad hour of my return. 
And still thy duteous course pursue, 
Abstemious, humble, kind, and true. 

426 The Ramayana 

The highest bliss shalt thou obtain 
When I from exile come again, 
If, best of those who keep the right, 
The king my sire still see the light." 

The queen, by Rama thus addressed, 
Still with a mother's grief oppressed, 
While her long eyes with tears were dim, 
Began once more and answered him: 
"Not by my pleading may be stayed 
The firm resolve thy soul has made. 
My hero, thou wilt go; and none 
The stern commands of Fate may shun. 
Go forth, dear child whom naught can bend, 
And may all bliss thy steps attend. 
Thou wilt return, and that dear day 
Will chase mine every grief away. 
Thou wilt return, thy duty done, 
Thy vows discharged, high glory won; 
From filial debt wilt thou be free, 
And sweetest joy will come on me. 
My son, the will of mighty Fate 
At every time must dominate, 
If now it drives thee hence to stray 
Heedless of me who bid thee stay. 
Go, strong of arm, go forth, my boy, 
Go forth, again to come with joy, 
And thine expectant mother cheer 
With those sweet tones she loves to hear. 
O that the blessed hour were nigh 
When thou shalt glad this anxious eye, 
With matted hair and hermit dress 
returning from the wilderness." 

Kausalya's conscious soul approved, 

Canto XXV. Kausalya's Blessing. 427 

As her proud glance she bent 
On Rama constant and unmoved, 

Resolved on banishment. 
Such words, with happy omens fraught 

To her dear son she said, 
Invoking with each eager thought 

A blessing on his head. 


Canto XXV. Kausalya's Blessing. 

Her grief and woe she cast aside, 
Her lips with water purified, 
And thus her benison began 
That mother of the noblest man: 
"If thou wilt hear no words of mine, 
Go forth, thou pride of Raghu's line. 
Go, darling, and return with speed, 
Walking where noble spirits lead. 
May virtue on thy steps attend, 
And be her faithful lover's friend. 
May Those to whom thy vows are paid 
In temple and in holy shade, 
With all the mighty saints combine 
To keep that precious life of thine. 
The arms wise Visvamitra 292 gave 
Thy virtuous soul from danger save. 
Long be thy life: thy sure defence 
Shall be thy truthful innocence, 

428 The Ramayana 

And that obedience, naught can tire, 
To me thy mother and thy sire. 
May fanes where holy fires are fed, 
Altars with grass and fuel spread, 
Each sacrificial ground, each tree, 
Rock, lake, and mountain, prosper thee. 
Let old Viraj, 293 and Him who made 
The universe, combine to aid; 
Let Indra and each guardian Lord 
Who keeps the worlds, their help afford, 
And be thy constant friend the Sun, 
Lord Piisha, Bhaga, Aryuman. 294 
Fortnights and seasons, nights and days, 
Years, months, and hours, protect thy ways, 
Vrihaspati shall still be nigh, 
The War-God, and the Moon on high, 
And Narad 295 and the sainted seven 296 
Shall watch thee from their starry heaven. 
The mountains, and the seas which ring 
The world, and Varuna the King, 
Sky, ether, and the wind, whate'er 
Moves not or moves, for thee shall care. 
Each lunar mansion be benign, 
With happier light the planets shine; 
All gods, each light in heaven that glows, 
Protect my child where'er he goes. 
The twilight hours, the day and night, 
Keep in the wood thy steps aright. 
Watch, minute, instant, as they flee, 
Shall all bring happiness to thee. 

293 The first progeny of Brahma or Brahma himself. 

294 These are three names of the Sun. 

295 See P. 1. 

296 The saints who form the constellation of Ursa Major. 

Canto XXV. Kausalya's Blessing. 429 

Celestials and the Titan brood 

Protect thee in thy solitude, 

And haunt the mighty wood to bless 

The wanderer in his hermit dress. 

Fear not, by mightier guardians screened, 

The giant or night-roving fiend; 

Nor let the cruel race who tear 

Man's flesh for food thy bosom scare. 

Far be the ape, the scorpion's sting, 

Fly, gnat, and worm, and creeping thing. 

Thee shall the hungry lion spare, 

The tiger, elephant, and bear: 

Safe, from their furious might repose, 

Safe from the horned buffaloes. 

Each savage thing the forests breed, 

That love on human flesh to feed, 

Shall for my child its rage abate, 

When thus its wrath I deprecate. 

Blest be thy ways: may sweet success 

The valour of my darling bless. 

To all that Fortune can bestow, 

Go forth, my child, my Rama, go. 

Go forth, O happy in the love 

Of all the Gods below, above; 

And in those guardian powers confide 

Thy paths who keep, thy steps who guide. 

May Sukra, 297 Yama, Sun, and Moon, 

And He who gives each golden boon, 298 

Won by mine earnest prayers, be good 

To thee, my son, in Dandak wood. 

Fire, wind, and smoke, each text and spell 

From mouths of holy seers that fell, 

297 The regent of the planet Venus. 

430 The Ramayana 

Guard Rama when his limbs he dips, 
Or with the stream makes pure his lips ! 
May the great saints and He, the Lord 
Who made the worlds, by worlds adored, 
And every God in heaven beside 
My banished Rama keep and guide." 

Thus with due praise the long-eyed dame, 
Ennobled by her spotless fame, 
With wreaths of flowers and precious scent 
Worshipped the Gods, most reverent. 
A high-souled Brahman lit the fire, 
And offered, at the queen's desire, 
The holy oil ordained to burn 
For Rama's weal and safe return. 
Kausalya best of dames, with care 
Set oil, wreaths, fuel, mustard, there. 
Then when the rites of fire had ceased, 
For Rama's bliss and health, the priest, 
Standing without gave what remained 
[125] In general offering, 299 as ordained. 

Dealing among the twice-horn train 
Honey, and curds, and oil, and grain, 
He bade each heart and voice unite 
To bless the youthful anchorite. 
Then Rama's mother, glorious dame 
Bestowed, to meet the Brahman's claim, 
A lordly fee for duty done: 
And thus again addressed her son: 

299 Bali, or the presentation of food to all created beings, is one of the five great 
sacraments of the Hindu religion: it consists in throwing a small parcel of the 
offering, Ghee, or rice, or the like, into the open air at the back of the house. 

Canto XXV. Kausalya's Blessing. 43 1 

"Such blessings as the Gods o'erjoyed 
Poured forth, when Vritra 300 was destroyed, 
On Indra of the thousand eyes, 
Attend, my child, thine enterprise! 
Yea, such as Vinata once gave 
To King Suparna 301 swift and brave, 
Who sought the drink that cheers the skies, 
Attend, my child, thine enterprise! 
Yea, such as, when the Amrit rose, 302 
And Indra slew his Daitya foes, 
The royal Aditi bestowed 
On Him whose hand with slaughter glowed 
Of that dire brood of monstrous size, 
Attend, my child, thine enterprise! 
E'en such as peerless Vishnu graced, 
When with his triple step he paced, 
Outbursting from the dwarf's disguise, 303 
Attend, my child, thine enterprise! 
Floods, isles, and seasons as they fly, 
Worlds, Vedas, quarters of the sky, 
Combine, O mighty-armed, to bless 
Thee destined heir of happiness!" 

The long-eyed lady ceased: she shed 
Pure scent and grain upon his head. 
And that prized herb whose sovereign power 
Preserves from dark misfortune's hour, 
Upon the hero's arm she set, 
To be his faithful amulet. 
While holy texts she murmured low, 

300 In mythology, a demon slain by Indra. 

301 Called also Garud, the King of the birds, offspring of Vinata. See p. 53. 

432 The Ramayana 

And spoke glad words though crushed by woe, 

Concealing with obedient tongue 

The pangs with which her heart was wrung. 

She bent, she kissed his brow, she pressed 

Her darling to her troubled breast: 

"Firm in thy purpose, go," she cried, 

"Go Rama, and may bliss betide. 

Attain returning safe and well, 

Triumphant in Ayodhya, dwell. 

Then shall my happy eyes behold 

The empire by thy will controlled. 

Then grief and care shall leave no trace, 

Joy shall light up thy mother's face, 

And I shall see my darling reign, 

In moonlike glory come again. 

These eyes shall fondly gaze on thee 

So faithful to thy sire's decree, 

When thou the forest wild shalt quit 

On thine ancestral throne to sit. 

Yea, thou shalt turn from exile back, 

Nor choicest blessings ever lack, 

Then fill with rapture ever new 

My bosom and thy consort's too. 

To Siva and the heavenly host 
My worship has been paid, 

To mighty saint, to godlike ghost, 
To every wandering shade. 

Forth to the forest thou wilt hie, 
Therein to dwell so long: 

Let all the quarters of the sky 
Protect my child from wrong." 

Her blessings thus the queen bestowed; 
Then round him fondly paced, 

And often, while her eyes o'erflowed, 

Canto XXVI. Alone With Sita. 433 

Her dearest son embraced. 
Kausalya's honoured feet he pressed, 

As round her steps she bent, 
And radiant with her prayers that blessed, 

To Sita's home he went. 

Canto XXVI. Alone With Sita. 

So Rama, to his purpose true, 

To Queen Kausalya bade adieu, 

Received the benison she gave, 

And to the path of duty clave. 

As through the crowded street he passed, 

A radiance on the way he cast, 

And each fair grace, by all approved, 

The bosoms of the people moved. 

Now of the woeful change no word 
The fair Videhan bride had heard; 
The thought of that imperial rite 
Still filled her bosom with delight. 
With grateful heart and joyful thought 
The Gods in worship she had sought, 
And, well in royal duties learned, 
Sat longing till her lord returned, 
Not all unmarked by grief and shame 
Within his sumptuous home he came, 
And hurried through the happy crowd 
With eye dejected, gloomy-browed. 
Up Sita sprang, and every limb 
Trembled with fear at sight of him. 

434 The Ramayana 

She marked that cheek where anguish fed, 
Those senses care-disquieted. 
For, when he looked on her, no more 
Could his heart hide the load it bore, 
Nor could the pious chief control 
The paleness o'er his cheek that stole. 
His altered cheer, his brow bedewed 
With clammy drops, his grief she viewed, 
And cried, consumed with fires of woe, 
[126] "What, O my lord, has changed thee so? 

Vrihaspati looks down benign, 
And the moon rests in Pushya's sign, 
As Brahmans sage this day declare: 
Then whence, my lord, this grief and care? 
Why does no canopy, like foam 
For its white beauty, shade thee home, 
Its hundred ribs spread wide to throw 
Splendour on thy fair head below? 
Where are the royal fans, to grace 
The lotus beauty of thy face, 
Fair as the moon or wild-swan's wing, 
And waving round the new-made king? 
Why do no sweet-toned bards rejoice 
To hail thee with triumphant voice? 
No tuneful heralds love to raise 
Loud music in their monarch's praise? 
Why do no Brahmans, Scripture-read, 
Pour curds and honey on thy head, 
Anointed, as the laws ordain, 
With holy rites, supreme to reign? 
Where are the chiefs of every guild? 
Where are the myriads should have filled 
The streets, and followed home their king 
With merry noise and triumphing? 

Canto XXVI. Alone With Sita. 435 

Why does no gold-wrought chariot lead 
With four brave horses, best for speed? 
No elephant precede the crowd 
Like a huge hill or thunder cloud, 
Marked from his birth for happy fate, 
Whom signs auspicious decorate? 
Why does no henchman, young and fair, 
Precede thee, and delight to bear 
Entrusted to his reverent hold 
The burthen of thy throne of gold? 
Why, if the consecrating rite 
Be ready, why this mournful plight? 
Why do I see this sudden change, 
This altered mien so sad and strange?" 

To her, as thus she weeping cried, 
Raghu's illustrious son replied: 

"Sita, my honoured sire's decree 
Commands me to the woods to flee. 
O high-born lady, nobly bred 
In the good paths thy footsteps tread, 
Hear, Janak's daughter, while I tell 
The story as it all befell. 
Of old my father true and brave 
Two boons to Queen Kaikeyi gave. 
Through these the preparations made 
For me to-day by her are stayed, 
For he is bound to disallow 
This promise by that earlier vow. 
In Dandak forest wild and vast 
Must fourteen years by me be passed. 
My father's will makes Bharat heir, 
The kingdom and the throne to share. 
Now, ere the lonely wild I seek, 

436 The Ramayana 

I come once more with thee to speak. 

In Bharat's presence, O my dame, 

Ne'er speak with pride of Rama's name: 

Another's eulogy to hear 

Is hateful to a monarch's ear. 

Thou must with love his rule obey 

To whom my father yields the sway. 

With love and sweet observance learn 

His grace, and more the king's, to earn. 

Now, that my father may not break 

The words of promise that he spake, 

To the drear wood my steps are bent: 

Be firm, good Sita, and content. 

Through all that time, my blameless spouse, 

Keep well thy fasts and holy vows. 

Rise from thy bed at break of day, 

And to the Gods due worship pay. 

With meek and lowly love revere 

The lord of men, my father dear, 

And reverence to Kausalya show, 

My mother, worn with eld and woe: 

By duty's law, O best of dames, 

High worship from thy love she claims, 

Nor to the other queens refuse 

Observance, rendering each her dues: 

By love and fond attention shown 

They are my mothers like mine own. 

Let Bharat and Satrughna bear 

In thy sweet love a special share: 

Dear as my life, O let them be 

Like brother and like son to thee. 

In every word and deed refrain 

From aught that Bharat's soul may pain: 

He is Ayodhya's king and mine, 

Canto XXVII. Sita's Speech. 437 

The head and lord of all our line. 
For those who serve and love them much 
With weariless endeavour, touch 
And win the gracious hearts of kings. 
While wrath from disobedience springs. 
Great monarchs from their presence send 
Their lawful sons who still offend, 
And welcome to the vacant place 
Good children of an alien race. 
Then, best of women, rest thou here, 
And Bharat's will with love revere. 
Obedient to thy king remain, 
And still thy vows of truth maintain. 

To the wide wood my steps I bend: 
Make thou thy dwelling here; 

See that thy conduct ne'er offend, 
And keep my words, my dear." 

Canto XXVII. Sita's Speech. 

His sweetly-speaking bride, who best 

Deserved her lord, he thus addressed. 

Then tender love bade passion wake, 

And thus the fair Videhan spake: 

"What words are these that thou hast said? 

Contempt of me the thought has bred. 

O best of heroes, I dismiss 

With bitter scorn a speech like this: [127] 

438 The Ramayana 

Unworthy of a warrior's fame 

It taints a monarch's son with shame, 

Ne'er to be heard from those who know 

The science of the sword and bow. 

My lord, the mother, sire, and son 

Receive their lots by merit won; 

The brother and the daughter find 

The portions to their deeds assigned. 

The wife alone, whate'er await, 

Must share on earth her husband's fate. 

So now the king's command which sends 

Thee to the wild, to me extends. 

The wife can find no refuge, none, 

In father, mother, self, or son: 

Both here, and when they vanish hence, 

Her husband is her sole defence. 

If, Raghu's son, thy steps are led 

Where Dandak's pathless wilds are spread, 

My foot before thine own shall pass 

Through tangled thorn and matted grass. 

Dismiss thine anger and thy doubt: 

Like refuse water cast them out, 

And lead me, O my hero, hence — 

I know not sin — with confidence. 

Whate'er his lot, 'tis far more sweet 

To follow still a husband's feet 

Than in rich palaces to lie, 

Or roam at pleasure through the sky. 

My mother and my sire have taught 

What duty bids, and trained each thought, 

Nor have I now mine ear to turn 

The duties of a wife to learn. 

I'll seek with thee the woodland dell 

And pathless wild where no men dwell, 

Canto XXVII. Sita's Speech. 439 

Where tribes of silvan creatures roam, 

And many a tiger makes his home. 

My life shall pass as pleasant there 

As in my father's palace fair. 

The worlds shall wake no care in me; 

My only care be truth to thee. 

There while thy wish I still obey, 

True to my vows with thee I'll stray, 

And there shall blissful hours be spent 

In woods with honey redolent. 

In forest shades thy mighty arm 

Would keep a stranger's life from harm, 

And how shall Sita think of fear 

When thou, O glorious lord, art near? 

Heir of high bliss, my choice is made, 

Nor can I from my will be stayed. 

Doubt not; the earth will yield me roots, 

These will I eat, and woodland fruits; 

And as with thee I wander there 

I will not bring thee grief or care. 

I long, when thou, wise lord, art nigh, 

All fearless, with delighted eye 

To gaze upon the rocky hill, 

The lake, the fountain, and the rill; 

To sport with thee, my limbs to cool, 

In some pure lily-covered pool, 

While the white swan's and mallard's wings 

Are plashing in the water-springs. 

So would a thousand seasons flee 

Like one sweet day, if spent with thee. 

Without my lord I would not prize 

A home with Gods above the skies: 

Without my lord, my life to bless, 

Where could be heaven or happiness? 

440 The Ramayana 

Forbid me not: with thee I go 

The tangled wood to tread. 
There will I live with thee, as though 

This roof were o'er my head. 
My will for thine shall be resigned; 

Thy feet my steps shall guide. 
Thou, only thou, art in my mind: 

I heed not all beside. 
Thy heart shall ne'er by me be grieved; 

Do not my prayer deny: 
Take me, dear lord; of thee bereaved 

Thy Sita swears to die." 
These words the duteous lady spake, 

Nor would he yet consent 
His faithful wife with him to take 

To share his banishment. 
He soothed her with his gentle speech; 

To change her will he strove; 
And much he said the woes to teach 

Of those in wilds who rove. 

Canto XXVIII. The Dangers Of The Wood. 

Thus Sita spake, and he who knew 
His duty, to its orders true, 
Was still reluctant as the woes 
Of forest life before him rose. 
He sought to soothe her grief, to dry 
The torrent from each brimming eye, 
And then, her firm resolve to shake, 
These words the pious hero spake: 

Canto XXVIII. The Dangers Of The Wood. 44 1 

"O daughter of a noble line, 
Whose steps from virtue ne'er decline, 
Remain, thy duties here pursue, 
As my fond heart would have thee do. 
Now hear me, Sita, fair and weak, 
And do the words that I shall speak. 
Attend and hear while I explain 
Each danger in the wood, each pain. 
Thy lips have spoken: I condemn 
The foolish words that fell from them. 
This senseless plan, this wish of thine 
To live a forest life, resign. 
The names of trouble and distress 
Suit well the tangled wilderness. 
In the wild wood no joy I know, 
A forest life is nought but woe. 
The lion in his mountain cave 
Answers the torrents as they rave, 
And forth his voice of terror throws: 

The wood, my love, is full of woes. [128] 

There mighty monsters fearless play, 
And in their maddened onset slay 
The hapless wretch who near them goes: 
The wood, my love, is full of woes. 
'Tis hard to ford each treacherous flood, 
So thick with crocodiles and mud, 
Where the wild elephants repose: 
The wood, my love, is full of woes. 
Or far from streams the wanderer strays 
Through thorns and creeper-tangled ways, 
While round him many a wild-cock crows: 
The wood, my love, is full of woes. 
On the cold ground upon a heap 
Of gathered leaves condemned to sleep, 

442 The Ramayana 

Toil-wearied, will his eyelids close: 

The wood, my love, is full of woes. 

Long days and nights must he content 

His soul with scanty aliment, 

What fruit the wind from branches blows: 

The wood, my love, is full of woes. 

O Sita, while his strength may last, 

The ascetic in the wood must fast, 

Coil on his head his matted hair, 

And bark must be his only wear. 

To Gods and spirits day by day 

The ordered worship he must pay, 

And honour with respectful care 

Each wandering guest who meets him there. 

The bathing rites he ne'er must shun 

At dawn, at noon, at set of sun, 

Obedient to the law he knows: 

The wood, my love, is full of woes. 

To grace the altar must be brought 

The gift of flowers his hands have sought — 

The debt each pious hermit owes: 

The wood, my love, is full of woes. 

The devotee must be content 

To live, severely abstinent, 

On what the chance of fortune shows: 

The wood, my love, is full of woes. 

Hunger afflicts him evermore: 

The nights are black, the wild winds roar; 

And there are dangers worse than those: 

The wood, my love, is full of woes. 

There creeping things in every form 

Infest the earth, the serpents swarm, 

And each proud eye with fury glows: 

The wood, my love, is full of woes. 

Canto XXIX. Sita's Appeal. 443 

The snakes that by the rives hide 
In sinuous course like rivers glide, 
And line the path with deadly foes: 
The wood, my love, is full of woes. 
Scorpions, and grasshoppers, and flies 
Disturb the wanderer as he lies, 
And wake him from his troubled doze: 
The wood, my love, is full of woes. 
Trees, thorny bushes, intertwined, 
Their branched ends together bind, 
And dense with grass the thicket grows: 
The wood, my dear, is full of woes, 
With many ills the flesh is tried, 
When these and countless fears beside 
Vex those who in the wood remain: 
The wilds are naught but grief and pain. 
Hope, anger must be cast aside, 
To penance every thought applied: 
No fear must be of things to fear: 
Hence is the wood for ever drear. 
Enough, my love: thy purpose quit: 
For forest life thou art not fit. 
As thus I think on all, I see 
The wild wood is no place for thee." 

Canto XXIX. Sita's Appeal. 

Thus Rama spake. Her lord's address 
The lady heard with deep distress, 
And, as the tear bedimmed her eye, 
In soft low accents made reply: 

444 The Ramayana 

"The perils of the wood, and all 

The woes thou countest to appal, 

Led by my love I deem not pain; 

Each woe a charm, each loss a gain. 

Tiger, and elephant, and deer, 

Bull, lion, buffalo, in fear, 

Soon as thy matchless form they see, 

With every silvan beast will flee. 

With thee, O Rama, I must go: 

My sire's command ordains it so. 

Bereft of thee, my lonely heart 

Must break, and life and I must part. 

While thou, O mighty lord, art nigh, 

Not even He who rules the sky, 

Though He is strongest of the strong, 

With all his might can do me wrong. 

Nor can a lonely woman left 

By her dear husband live bereft. 

In my great love, my lord, I ween, 

The truth of this thou mayst have seen. 

In my sire's palace long ago 

I heard the chief of those who know, 

The truth-declaring Brahmans, tell 

My fortune, in the wood to dwell. 

I heard their promise who divine 

The future by each mark and sign, 

And from that hour have longed to lead 

The forest life their lips decreed. 

Now, mighty Rama, I must share 

Thy father's doom which sends thee there; 

In this I will not be denied, 

But follow, love, where thou shalt guide. 

O husband, I will go with thee, 

Obedient to that high decree. 

Canto XXIX. Sfta's Appeal. 445 

Now let the Brahmans' words be true, 

For this the time they had in view. 

I know full well the wood has woes; 

But they disturb the lives of those 

Who in the forest dwell, nor hold 

Their rebel senses well controlled. [129] 

In my sire's halls, ere I was wed, 

I heard a dame who begged her bread 

Before my mother's face relate 

What griefs a forest life await. 

And many a time in sport I prayed 

To seek with thee the greenwood shade, 

For O, my heart on this is set, 

To follow thee, dear anchoret. 

May blessings on thy life attend: 

I long with thee my steps to bend, 

For with such hero as thou art 

This pilgrimage enchants my heart. 

Still close, my lord, to thy dear side 

My spirit will be purified: 

Love from all sin my soul will free: 

My husband is a God to me. 

So, love, with thee shall I have bliss 

And share the life that follows this. 

I heard a Brahman, dear to fame, 

This ancient Scripture text proclaim: 

"The woman whom on earth below 

Her parents on a man bestow, 

And lawfully their hands unite 

With water and each holy rite, 

She in this world shall be his wife, 

His also in the after life." 

Then tell me, O beloved, why 

Thou wilt this earnest prayer deny, 

446 The Ramayana 

Nor take me with thee to the wood, 
Thine own dear wife so true and good. 
But if thou wilt not take me there 
Thus grieving in my wild despair, 
To fire or water I will fly, 
Or to the poisoned draught, and die." 

So thus to share his exile, she 
Besought him with each earnest plea, 
Nor could she yet her lord persuade 
To take her to the lonely shade. 
The answer of the strong-armed chief 
Smote the Videhan's soul with grief, 
And from her eyes the torrents came 
bathing the bosom of the dame. 

Canto XXX. The Triumph Of Love. 

The daughter of Videha's king, 
While Rama strove to soothe the sting 
Of her deep anguish, thus began 
Once more in furtherance of her plan: 
And with her spirit sorely tried 
By fear and anger, love and pride, 
With keenly taunting words addressed 
Her hero of the stately breast: 
"Why did the king my sire, who reigns 
O'er fair Videha's wide domains, 
Hail Rama son with joy unwise, 
A woman in a man's disguise? 
Now falsely would the people say, 

Canto XXX. The Triumph Of Love. 447 

By idle fancies led astray, 

That Rama's own are power and might, 

As glorious as the Lord of Light. 

Why sinkest thou in such dismay? 

What fears upon thy spirit weigh, 

That thou, O Rama, fain wouldst flee 

From her who thinks of naught but thee? 

To thy dear will am I resigned 

In heart and body, soul and mind, 

As Savitri gave all to one, 

Satyavan, Dyumatsena's son. 304 

Not e'en in fancy can I brook 

To any guard save thee to look: 

Let meaner wives their houses shame, 

To go with thee is all my claim. 

Like some low actor, deemst thou fit 

Thy wife to others to commit — 

Thine own, espoused in maiden youth, 

Thy wife so long, unblamed for truth? 

Do thou, my lord, his will obey 

For whom thou losest royal sway, 

To whom thou wouldst thy wife confide — 

Not me, but thee, his wish may guide. 

Thou must not here thy wife forsake, 

And to the wood thy journey make, 

Whether stern penance, grief, and care, 

Or rule or heaven await thee there. 

Nor shall fatigue my limbs distress 

When wandering in the wilderness: 

Each path which near to thee I tread 

Shall seem a soft luxurious bed. 

304 The story of Savitri, told in the Mahabharat, has been admirably translated 
by Ruckert, and elegantly epitomized by Mrs. Manning in India, Ancient and 
Medieval. There is a free rendering of the story in Idylls from the Sanskrit. 

448 The Ramayana 

The reeds, the bushes where I pass, 
The thorny trees, the tangled grass 
Shall feel, if only thou be near, 
Soft to my touch as skins of deer. 
When the rude wind in fury blows, 
And scattered dust upon me throws, 
That dust, beloved lord, to me 
Shall as the precious sandal be. 
And what shall be more blest than I, 
When gazing on the wood I lie 
In some green glade upon a bed 
With sacred grass beneath us spread? 
The root, the leaf, the fruit which thou 
Shalt give me from the earth or bough, 
Scanty or plentiful, to eat, 
Shall taste to me as Amrit sweet. 
As there I live on flowers and roots 
And every season's kindly fruits, 
I will not for my mother grieve, 
My sire, my home, or all I leave. 
My presence, love, shall never add 
[130] One pain to make the heart more sad; 

I will not cause thee grief or care, 
Nor be a burden hard to bear. 
With thee is heaven, where'er the spot; 
Each place is hell where thou art not. 
Then go with me, O Rama; this 
Is all my hope and all my bliss. 
If thou wilt leave thy wife who still 
Entreats thee with undaunted will, 
This very day shall poison close 
The life that spurns the rule of foes. 
How, after, can my soul sustain 
The bitter life of endless pain, 

Canto XXX. The Triumph Of Love. 449 

When thy dear face, my lord, I miss? 

No, death is better far than this. 

Not for an hour could I endure 

The deadly grief that knows not cure, 

Far less a woe I could not shun 

For ten long years, and three, and one." 

While fires of woe consumed her, such 
Her sad appeal, lamenting much; 
Then with a wild cry, anguish-wrung, 
About her husband's neck she clung. 
Like some she-elephant who bleeds 
Struck by the hunter's venomed reeds, 
So in her quivering heart she felt 
The many wounds his speeches dealt. 
Then, as the spark from wood is gained, 305 
Down rolled the tear so long restrained: 
The crystal moisture, sprung from woe, 
From her sweet eyes began to flow, 
As runs the water from a pair 
Of lotuses divinely fair. 
And Sita's face with long dark eyes, 
Pure as the moon of autumn skies, 
Faded with weeping, as the buds 
Of lotuses when sink the floods. 
Around his wife his arms he strained, 
Who senseless from her woe remained, 
And with sweet words, that bade her wake 
To life again, the hero spake: 
"I would not with thy woe, my Queen, 
Buy heaven and all its blissful sheen. 
Void of all fear am I as He, 

Fire for sacrificial purposes is produced by the attrition of two pieces of 

450 The Ramayana 

The self-existent God, can be. 

I knew not all thy heart till now, 

Dear lady of the lovely brow, 

So wished not thee in woods to dwell; 

Yet there mine arm can guard thee well. 

Now surely thou, dear love, wast made 

To dwell with me in green wood shade. 

And, as a high saint's tender mind 

Clings to its love for all mankind, 

So I to thee will ever cling, 

Sweet daughter of Videha's king. 

The good, of old, O soft of frame, 

Honoured this duty's sovereign claim, 

And I its guidance will not shun, 

True as light's Queen is to the Sun. 

I cannot, pride of Janak's line, 

This journey to the wood decline: 

My sire's behest, the oath he sware, 

The claims of truth, all lead me there. 

One duty, dear the same for aye, 

Is sire and mother to obey: 

Should I their orders once transgress 

My very life were weariness. 

If glad obedience be denied 

To father, mother, holy guide, 

What rites, what service can be done 

That stern Fate's favour may be won? 

These three the triple world comprise, 

O darling of the lovely eyes. 

Earth has no holy thing like these 

Whom with all love men seek to please. 

Not truth, or gift, or bended knee, 

Not honour, worship, lordly fee, 

Storms heaven and wins a blessing thence 

Canto XXX. The Triumph Of Love. 45 1 

Like sonly love and reverence. 

Heaven, riches, grain, and varied lore, 

With sons and many a blessing more, 

All these are made their own with ease 

By those their elders' souls who please. 

The mighty-souled, who ne'er forget, 

Devoted sons, their filial debt, 

Win worlds where Gods and minstrels are, 

And Brahma's sphere more glorious far. 

Now as the orders of my sire, 

Who keeps the way of truth, require, 

So will I do, for such the way 

Of duty that endures for aye: 

To take thee, love, to Dandak's wild 

My heart at length is reconciled, 

For thee such earnest thoughts impel 

To follow, and with me to dwell. 

O faultless form from feet to brows, 

Come with me, as my will allows, 

And duty there with me pursue, 

Trembler, whose bright eyes thrill me through. 

In all thy days, come good come ill, 

Preserve unchanged such noble will, 

And thou, dear love, wilt ever be 

The glory of thy house and me. 

Now, beauteous-armed, begin the tasks 

The woodland life of hermits asks. 

For me the joys of heaven above 

Have charms no more without thee, love. 

And now, dear Sita, be not slow: 

Food on good mendicants bestow, 

And for the holy Brahmans bring 

Thy treasures and each precious thing. 

Thy best attire and gems collect, 

452 The Ramayana 

The jewels which thy beauty decked, 
And every ornament and toy 
Prepared for hours of sport and joy: 
The beds, the cars wherein I ride, 
Among our followers, next, divide." 

She conscious that her lord approved 
[131] Her going, with great rapture moved, 

Hastened within, without delay, 
Prepared to give their wealth away. 

Canto XXXI. Lakshman's Prayer. 

When Lakshman, who had joined them there, 

Had heard the converse of the pair, 

His mien was changed, his eyes o'erflowed, 

His breast no more could bear its load. 

The son of Raghu, sore distressed, 

His brother's feet with fervour pressed, 

While thus to Sita he complained, 

And him by lofty vows enchained: 

"If thou wilt make the woods thy home, 

Where elephant and roebuck roam, 

I too this day will take my bow 

And in the path before thee go. 

Our way will lie through forest ground 

Where countless birds and beasts are found, 

I heed not homes of Gods on high, 

I heed not life that cannot die, 

Nor would I wish, with thee away, 

O'er the three worlds to stretch my sway." 

Canto XXXI. Lakshman's Prayer. 453 

Thus Lakshman spake, with earnest prayer 
His brother's woodland life to share. 
As Rama still his prayer denied 
With soothing words, again he cried: 
"When leave at first thou didst accord, 
Why dost thou stay me now, my lord? 
Thou art my refuge: O, be kind, 
Leave me not, dear my lord, behind. 
Thou canst not, brother, if thou choose 
That I still live, my wish refuse." 

The glorious chief his speech renewed 
To faithful Lakshman as he sued, 
And on the eyes of Rama gazed 
Longing to lead, with hands upraised: 
"Thou art a hero just and dear, 
Whose steps to virtue's path adhere, 
Loved as my life till life shall end, 
My faithful brother and my friend. 
If to the woods thou take thy way 
With Sita and with me to-day, 
Who for Kausalya will provide, 
And guard the good Sumitra's side? 
The lord of earth, of mighty power, 
Who sends good things in plenteous shower, 
As Indra pours the grateful rain, 
A captive lies in passion's chain. 
The power imperial for her son 
Has Asvapati's daughter 306 won, 
And she, proud queen, will little heed 
Her miserable rivals' need. 
So Bharat, ruler of the land, 
By Queen Kaikeyi's side will stand, 

306 Kaikeyf. 

454 The Ramayana 

Nor of those two will ever think, 
While grieving in despair they sink. 
Now, Lakshman, as thy love decrees, 
Or else the monarch's heart to please, 
Follow this counsel and protect 
My honoured mother from neglect. 
So thou, while not to me alone 
Thy great affection will be shown, 
To highest duty wilt adhere 
By serving those thou shouldst revere. 
Now, son of Raghu, for my sake 
Obey this one request I make, 
Or, of her darling son bereft, 
Kausalya has no comfort left." 

The faithful Lakshman, thus addressed 
In gentle words which love expressed, 
To him in lore of language learned, 
His answer, eloquent, returned: 

"Nay, through thy might each queen will share 
Attentive Bharat's love and care, 
Should Bharat, raised as king to sway 
This noblest realm, his trust betray, 
Nor for their safety well provide, 
Seduced by ill-suggesting pride, 
Doubt not my vengeful hand shall kill 
The cruel wretch who counsels ill — 
Kill him and all who lend him aid, 
And the three worlds in league arrayed. 
And good Kausalya well can fee 
A thousand champions like to me. 
A thousand hamlets rich in grain 
The station of that queen maintain. 

Canto XXXI. Lakshman's Prayer. 455 

She may, and my dear mother too, 
Live on the ample revenue. 
Then let me follow thee: herein: 
Is naught that may resemble sin. 
So shall I in my wish succeed, 
And aid, perhaps, my brother's need. 
My bow and quiver well supplied 
With arrows hanging at my side, 
My hands shall spade and basket bear, 
And for thy feet the way prepare. 
I'll bring thee roots and berries sweet. 
And woodland fare which hermits eat. 
Thou shall with thy Videhan spouse 
Recline upon the mountain's brows; 
Be mine the toil, be mine to keep 
Watch o'er thee waking or asleep." 

Filled by his speech with joy and pride, 
Rama to Lakshman thus replied: 
"Go then, my brother, bid adieu 
To all thy friends and retinue. 
And those two bows of fearful might, 
Celestial, which, at that famed rite, 
Lord Varun gave to Janak, king 
Of fair Vedeha with thee bring, 
With heavenly coats of sword-proof mail, 

Quivers, whose arrows never fail, [132] 

And golden-hilted swords so keen, 
The rivals of the sun in sheen. 
Tended with care these arms are all 
Preserved in my preceptor's hall. 
With speed, O Lakshman, go, produce, 
And bring them hither for our use." 
So on a woodland life intent, 

456 The Ramayana 

To see his faithful friends he went, 

And brought the heavenly arms which lay 

By Rama's teacher stored away. 

And Raghu's son to Rama showed 

Those wondrous arms which gleamed and glowed, 

Well kept, adorned with many a wreath 

Of flowers on case, and hilt, and sheath. 

The prudent Rama at the sight 

Addressed his brother with delight: 

"Well art thou come, my brother dear, 

For much I longed to see thee here. 

For with thine aid, before I go, 

I would my gold and wealth bestow 

Upon the Brahmans sage, who school 

Their lives by stern devotion's rule. 

And for all those who ever dwell 

Within my house and serve me well, 

Devoted servants, true and good, 

Will I provide a livelihood. 

Quick, go and summon to this place 
The good Vasishtha's son, 

Suyajna, of the Brahman race 
The first and holiest one. 

To all the Brahmans wise and good 
Will I due reverence pay, 

Then to the solitary wood 
With thee will take my way." 

Canto XXXII. The Gift Of The Treasures. 

Canto XXXII. The Gift Of The Treasures. 457 

That speech so noble which conveyed 
His friendly wish, the chief obeyed, 
With steps made swift by anxious thought 
The wise Suyajna's home he sought. 
Him in the hall of Fire 307 he found, 
And bent before him to the ground: 
"O friend, to Rama's house return, 
Who now performs a task most stern." 
He, when his noonday rites were done, 
Went forth with fair Sumitra's son, 
And came to Rama's bright abode 
Rich in the love which Lakshmi showed. 
The son of Raghu, with his dame, 
With joined hands met him as he came, 
Showing to him who Scripture knew 
The worship that is Agni's due. 
With armlets, bracelets, collars, rings, 
With costly pearls on golden strings, 
With many a gem for neck and limb 
The son of Raghu honoured him. 
Then Rama, at his wife's request, 
The wise Suyajna thus addressed: 
"Accept a necklace too to deck 
With golden strings thy spouse's neck. 
And Sita here, my friend, were glad 
A girdle to her gift to add. 
And many a bracelet wrought with care, 
And many an armlet rich and rare, 
My wife to thine is fain to give, 
Departing in the wood to live. 
A bed by skilful workmen made, 
With gold and various gems inlaid — 

307 The chapel where the sacred fire used in worship is kept. 

458 The Ramayana 

This too, before she goes, would she 
Present, O saintly friend, to thee. 
Thine be my elephant, so famed, 
My uncle's present, Victor named; 
And let a thousand coins of gold, 
Great Brahman, with the gift be told." 
Thus Rama spoke: nor he declined 
The noble gifts for him designed. 
On Rama, Lakshman, Sita he 
Invoked all high felicity. 

In pleasant words then Rama gave 
His best to Lakshman prompt and brave, 
As Brahma speaks for Him to hear 
Who rules the Gods' celestial sphere: 
"To the two best of Brahmans run; 
Agastya bring, and Kusik's son, 
And precious gifts upon them rain, 
Like fostering floods upon the grain. 
O long-armed Prince of Raghu's line, 
Delight them with a thousand kine, 
And many a fair and costly gem, 
With gold and silver, give to them. 
To him, so deep in Scripture, who, 
To Queen Kausalya, ever true, 
Serves her with blessing and respect, 
Chief of the Taittiriya sect 308 — 
To him, with women-slaves, present 
A chariot rich with ornament, 
And costly robes of silk beside, 
Until the sage be satisfied. 
On Chitraratha, true and dear, 
My tuneful bard and charioteer, 

308 The students and teachers of the Taittiriya portion of the Yajur Veda. 

Canto XXXII. The Gift Of The Treasures. 459 

Gems, robes, and plenteous wealth confer — 

Mine ancient friend and minister. 

And these who go with staff in hand, 

Grammarians trained, a numerous band, 

Who their deep study only prize, 

Nor think of other exercise, 

Who toil not, loving dainty fare, 

Whose praises e'en the good declare — 

On these be eighty cars bestowed, 

And each with precious treasures load. [133] 

A thousand bulls for them suffice, 

Two hundred elephants of price, 

And let a thousand kine beside 

The dainties of each meal provide. 

The throng who sacred girdles wear, 

And on Kausalya wait with care — 

A thousand golden coins shall please, 

Son of Sumitra, each of these. 

Let all, dear Lakshman of the train 

These special gifts of honour gain: 

My mother will rejoice to know 

Her Brahmans have been cherished so." 

Then Raghu's son addressed the crowd 
Who round him stood and wept aloud, 
When he to all who thronged the court 
Had dealt his wealth for their support: 
"In Lakshman's house and mine remain, 
And guard them till I come again." 
To all his people sad with grief, 
In loving words thus spoke their chief, 
Then bade his treasure-keeper bring 
Gold, silver, and each precious thing. 
Then straight the servants went and bore 

460 The Ramayana 

Back to their chief the wealth in store. 

Before the people's eyes it shone, 

A glorious pile to look upon. 

The prince of men with Lakshman's aid 

Parted the treasures there displayed, 

Gave to the poor, the young, the old, 

And twice-born men, the gems and gold. 

A Brahman, long in evil case, 
Named Trijat, born of Garga's race, 
Earned ever toiling in a wood 
With spade and plough his livelihood. 
The youthful wife, his babes who bore, 
Their indigence felt more and more. 
Thus to the aged man she spake: 
"Hear this my word: my counsel take. 
Come, throw thy spade and plough away; 
To virtuous Rama go to-day, 
And somewhat of his kindness pray." 

He heard the words she spoke: around 
His limbs his ragged cloth he wound, 
And took his journey by the road 
That led to Rama's fair abode. 
To the fifth court he made his way; 
Nor met the Brahman check or stay. 
Brighu, Angiras 309 could not be 
Brighter with saintly light than he. 
To Rama's presence on he pressed, 
And thus the noble chief addressed: 
"O Rama, poor and weak am I, 
And many children round me cry. 

309 Two of the divine personages called Prajdpatis and Brahmddikas who were 
first created by Brahma. 

Canto XXXII. The Gift Of The Treasures. 46 1 

Scant living in the woods I earn: 
On me thine eye of pity turn." 
And Rama, bent on sport and jest, 
The suppliant Brahman thus addressed: 
"O aged man, one thousand kine, 
Yet undistributed, are mine. 
The cows on thee will I bestow 
As far as thou thy staff canst throw." 

The Brahman heard. In eager haste 
He bound his cloth around his waist. 
Then round his head his staff he whirled, 
And forth with mightiest effort hurled. 
Cast from his hand it flew, and sank 
To earth on Sarjii's farther bank, 
Where herds of kine in thousands fed 
Near to the well-stocked bullock shed. 
And all the cows that wandered o'er 
The meadow, far as Sarjii's shore, 
At Rama's word the herdsmen drove 
To Trijat's cottage in the grove. 
He drew the Brahman to his breast, 
And thus with calming words addressed: 
"Now be not angry, Sire. I pray: 
This jest of mine was meant in play. 
These thousand kine, but not alone. 
Their herdsmen too, are all thine own. 
And wealth beside I give thee: speak, 
Thine shall be all thy heart can seek." 

Thus Rama spake. And Trijat prayed 
For means his sacrifice to aid. 
And Rama gave much wealth, required 
To speed his offering as desired. 

462 The Ramayana 

Canto XXXIII. The People's Lament. 

Thus Sita and the princes brave 
Much wealth to all the Brahmans gave. 
Then to the monarch's house the three 
Went forth the aged king to see. 
The princes from two servants took 
Those heavenly arms of glorious look, 
Adorned with garland and with band 
By Sita's beautifying hand. 
On each high house a mournful throng 
Had gathered ere they passed along, 
Who gazed in pure unselfish woe 
From turret, roof, and portico. 
So dense the crowd that blocked the ways, 
The rest, unable there to gaze, 
Were fain each terrace to ascend, 
And thence their eyes on Rama bend. 
Then as the gathered multitude 
On foot their well-loved Rama viewed, 
No royal shade to screen his head, 
Such words, disturbed in grief, they said: 
"O look, our hero, wont to ride 
Leading a host in perfect pride — 
Now Lakshman, sole of all his friends, 
With Sita on his steps attends. 
Though he has known the sweets of power, 
And poured his gifts in liberal shower, 
[134] From duty's path he will not swerve, 

But, still his father's truth preserve. 
And she whose form so soft and fair 
Was veiled from spirits of the air, 
Now walks unsheltered from the day, 
Seen by the crowds who throng the way. 

Canto XXXIII. The People's Lament. 463 

Ah, for that gently-nurtured form! 
How will it fade with sun and storm! 
How will the rain, the cold, the heat 
Mar fragrant breast and tinted feet! 
Surely some demon has possessed 
His sire, and speaks within his breast, 
Or how could one that is a king 
Thus send his dear son wandering? 
It were a deed unkindly done 
To banish e'en a worthless son: 
But what, when his pure life has gained 
The hearts of all, by love enchained? 
Six sovereign virtues join to grace 
Rama the foremost of his race: 
Tender and kind and pure is he, 
Docile, religious, passion-free. 
Hence misery strikes not him alone: 
In bitterest grief the people moan, 
Like creatures of the stream, when dry 
In the great heat the channels lie. 
The world is mournful with the grief 
That falls on its beloved chief, 
As, when the root is hewn away, 
Tree, fruit, and flower, and bud decay. 
The soul of duty, bright to see, 
He is the root of you and me; 
And all of us, who share his grief, 
His branches, blossom, fruit, and leaf. 
Now like the faithful Lakshman, we 
Will follow and be true as he; 
Our wives and kinsmen call with speed, 
And hasten where our lord shall lead. 
Yes, we will leave each well-loved spot, 
The field, the garden, and the cot, 

464 The Ramayana 

And, sharers of his weal and woe, 

Behind the pious Rama go. 

Our houses, empty of their stores, 

With ruined courts and broken doors, 

With all their treasures borne away. 

And gear that made them bright and gay: 

O'errun by rats, with dust o'erspread, 

Shrines, whence the deities have fled, 

Where not a hand the water pours, 

Or sweeps the long-neglected floors, 

No incense loads the evening air, 

No Brahmans chant the text and prayer, 

No fire of sacrifice is bright, 

No gift is known, no sacred rite; 

With floors which broken vessels strew, 

As if our woes had crushed them too — 

Of these be stern Kaikeyi queen, 

And rule o'er homes where we have been. 

The wood where Rama's feet may roam 

Shall be our city and our home, 

And this fair city we forsake, 

Our flight a wilderness shall make. 

Each serpent from his hole shall hie, 

The birds and beasts from mountain fly, 

Lions and elephants in fear 

Shall quit the woods when we come near, 

Yield the broad wilds for us to range, 

And take our city in exchange. 

With Rama will we hence, content 

If, where he is, our days be spent." 

Such were the varied words the crowd 
Of all conditions spoke aloud. 
And Rama heard their speeches, yet 

Canto XXXIV. Rama In The Palace. 465 

Changed not his purpose firmly set. 
His father's palace soon he neared, 
That like Kailasa's hill appeared. 
Like a wild elephant he strode 
Right onward to the bright abode. 
Within the palace court he stepped, 
Where ordered bands their station kept, 
And saw Sumantra standing near 
With down-cast eye and gloomy cheer. 

Canto XXXIV. Rama In The Palace. 

The dark incomparable chief 
Whose eye was like a lotus leaf, 
Cried to the mournful charioteer, 
"Go tell my sire that I am here." 

Sumantra, sad and all dismayed, 
The chieftain's order swift obeyed. 
Within the palace doors he hied 
And saw the king, who wept and sighed. 
Like the great sun when wrapped in shade 
Like fire by ashes overlaid, 
Or like a pool with waters dried, 
So lay the world's great lord and pride, 
A while the wise Sumantra gazed 
On him whose senses woe has dazed, 
Grieving for Rama. Near he drew 
With hands upraised in reverence due. 
With blessing first his king he hailed; 
Then with a voice that well-nigh failed, 

466 The Ramayana 

In trembling accents soft and low 
Addressed the monarch in his woe: 
"The prince of men, thy Rama, waits 
Before thee at the palace gates. 
His wealth to Brahmans he has dealt, 
And all who in his home have dwelt. 
Admit thy son. His friends have heard 
His kind farewell and parting word, 
He longs to see thee first, and then 
Will seek the wilds, O King of men. 
He, with each princely virtue's blaze, 
Shines as the sun engirt by rays." 

The truthful King who loved to keep 
The law profound as Ocean's deep, 
And stainless as the dark blue sky, 
[135] Thus to Sumantra made reply: 

"Go then, Sumantra, go and call 
My wives and ladies one and all. 
Drawn round me shall they fill the place 
When I behold my Rama's face." 

Quick to the inner rooms he sped, 
And thus to all the women said, 
"Come, at the summons of the king: 
Come all, and make no tarrying." 

Canto XXXIV. Rama In The Palace. 467 

Their husband's word, by him conveyed, 
Soon as they heard, the dames obeyed, 
And following his guidance all 
Came thronging to the regal hall. 
In number half seven hundred, they, 
All lovely dames, in long array, 
With their bright eyes for weeping red, 
To stand round Queen Kausalya, sped. 
They gathered, and the monarch viewed 
One moment all the multitude, 
Then to Sumantra spoke and said: 
"Now let my son be hither led." 

Sumantra went. Then Rama came, 
And Lakshman, and the Maithil dame, 
And, as he led them on, their guide 
Straight to the monarch's presence hied. 
When yet far off the father saw 
His son with raised palms toward him draw, 
Girt by his ladies, sick with woes, 
Swift from his royal seat he rose. 
With all his strength the aged man 
To meet his darling Rama ran, 
But trembling, wild with dark despair, 
Fell on the ground and fainted there. 
And Lakshman, wont in cars to ride, 
And Rama, threw them by the side 
Of the poor miserable king, 
Half lifeless with his sorrow's sting. 
Throughout the spacious hall up went 
A thousand women's wild lament: 
"Ah Rama!" thus they wailed and wept, 
And anklets tinkled as they stepped 
Around his body, weeping, threw 

468 The Ramayana 

Their loving arms the brothers two, 
And then, with Sita's gentle aid, 
The king upon a couch was laid. 
At length to earth's imperial lord, 
When life and knowledge were restored, 
Though seas of woe went o'er his head, 
With suppliant hand, thus Rama said: 
"Lord of us all, great King, thou art: 
Bid me farewell before we part, 
To Dandak wood this day I go: 
One blessing and one look bestow. 
Let Lakshman my companion be, 
And Sita also follow me. 
With truthful pleas I sought to bend 
Their purpose; but no ear they lend. 
Now cast this sorrow from thy heart, 
And let us all, great King, depart. 
As Brahma sends his children, so 
Let Lakshman, me, and Sita go." 

He stood unmoved, and watched intent 
Until the king should grant consent. 
Upon his son his eyes he cast, 
And thus the monarch spake at last: 
"O Rama, by her arts enslaved, 
I gave the boons Kaikeyi craved, 
Unfit to reign, by her misled: 
Be ruler in thy father's stead." 

Canto XXXIV. Rama In The Palace. 469 

Thus by the lord of men addressed, 
Rama, of virtue's friends the best, 
In lore of language duly learned, 
His answer, reverent, thus returned: 
"A thousand years, O King, remain 
O'er this our city still to reign. 
I in the woods my life will lead: 
The lust of rule no more I heed. 
Nine years and five I there will spend, 
And when the portioned days shall end, 
Will come, my vows and exile o'er, 
And clasp thy feet, my King, once more." 

A captive in the snare of truth, 
Weeping, distressed with woe and ruth, 
Thus spake the monarch, while the queen 
Kaikeyi urged him on unseen: 
"Go then, O Rama, and begin 
Thy course unvext by fear and sin: 
Go, my beloved son, and earn 
Success, and joy, and safe return. 
So fast the bonds of duty bind. 
O Raghu's son, thy truthful mind, 
That naught can turn thee back, or guide 
Thy will so strongly fortified. 
But O, a little longer stay, 
Nor turn thy steps this night away, 
That I one little day — alas! 
One only — with my son may pass. 
Me and thy mother do not slight, 
But stay, my son, with me to-night; 
With every dainty please thy taste, 
And seek to-morrow morn the waste. 
Hard is thy task, O Raghu's son, 

470 The Ramayana 

Dire is the toil thou wilt not shun, 

Far to the lonely wood to flee, 

And leave thy friends for love of me. 

I swear it by my truth, believe, 

For thee, my son, I deeply grieve, 

Misguided by the traitress dame 

With hidden guile like smouldering flame. 

Now, by her wicked counsel stirred, 

Thou fain wouldst keep my plighted word. 

No marvel that my eldest born 

Would hold me true when I have sworn." 

Then Rama having calmly heard 
His wretched father speak each word, 
With Lakshman standing by his side 
Thus, humbly, to the King replied: 
"If dainties now my taste regale, 
To-morrow must those dainties fail. 
This day departure I prefer 
To all that wealth can minister. 
O'er this fair land, no longer mine, 
[136] Which I, with all her realms, resign, 

Her multitudes of men, her grain, 
Her stores of wealth, let Bharat reign. 
And let the promised boon which thou 
Wast pleased to grant the queen ere now, 
Be hers in full. Be true, O King, 
Kind giver of each precious thing. 
Thy spoken word I still will heed, 
Obeying all thy lips decreed: 
And fourteen years in woods will dwell 
With those who live in glade and dell. 
No hopes of power my heart can touch, 
No selfish joys attract so much 

Canto XXXIV. Rama In The Palace. 47 1 

As son of Raghu, to fulfil 

With heart and soul my father's will. 

Dismiss, dismiss thy needless woe, 

Nor let those drowning torrents flow: 

The Lord of Rivers in his pride 

Keeps to the banks that bar his tide. 

Here in thy presence I declare; 

By thy good deeds, thy truth, I swear; 

Nor lordship, joy, nor lands I prize; 

Life, heaven, all blessings I despise. 

I wish to see thee still remain 

Most true, O King, and free from stain. 

It must not, Sire, it must not be: 

I cannot rest one hour with thee. 

Then bring this sorrow to an end, 

For naught my settled will can bend. 

I gave a pledge that binds me too, 

And to that pledge I still am true. 

Kaikeyi bade me speed away: 

She prayed me, and I answered yea. 

Pine not for me, and weep no more; 

The wood for us has joy in store, 

Filled with the wild deer's peaceful herds 

And voices of a thousand birds. 

A father is the God of each, 

Yea, e'en of Gods, so Scriptures teach: 

And I will keep my sire's decree, 

For as a God I honour thee. 

O best of men, the time is nigh, 

The fourteen years will soon pass by 

And to thine eyes thy son restore: 

Be comforted, and weep no more. 

Thou with thy firmness shouldst support 

These weeping crowds who throng the court; 

472 The Ramayana 

Then why, O chief of high renown, 
So troubled, and thy soul cast down?" 

Canto XXXV. Kaikeyi Reproached. 

Wild with the rage he could not calm, 
Sumantra, grinding palm on palm, 
His head in quick impatience shook, 
And sighed with woe he could not brook. 
He gnashed his teeth, his eyes were red, 
From his changed face the colour fled. 
In rage and grief that knew no law, 
The temper of the king he saw. 
With his word-arrows swift and keen 
He shook the bosom of the queen. 
With scorn, as though its lightning stroke 
Would blast her body, thus he spoke: 
"Thou, who, of no dread sin afraid, 
Hast Dasaratha's self betrayed, 
Lord of the world, whose might sustains 
Each thing that moves or fixed remains, 
What direr crime is left thee now? 
Death to thy lord and house art thou, 
Whose cruel deeds the king distress, 
Mahendra's peer in mightiness, 
Firm as the mountain's rooted steep, 
Enduring as the Ocean's deep. 
Despise not Dasaratha, he 
Is a kind lord and friend to thee. 
A loving wife in worth outruns 
The mother of ten million sons. 

Canto XXXV. Kaikeyi Reproached. 473 

Kings, when their sires have passed away, 

Succeed by birthright to the sway. 

Ikshvaku's son still rules the state, 

Yet thou this rule wouldst violate. 

Yea, let thy son, Kaikeyi, reign, 

Let Bharat rule his sire's domain. 

Thy will, O Queen, shall none oppose: 

We all will go where Rama goes. 

No Brahman, scorning thee, will rest 

Within the realm thou governest, 

But all will fly indignant hence: 

So great thy trespass and offence. 

I marvel, when thy crime I see, 

Earth yawns not quick to swallow thee; 

And that the Brahman saints prepare 

No burning scourge thy soul to scare, 

With cries of shame to smite thee, bent 

Upon our Rama's banishment. 

The Mango tree with axes fell, 

And tend instead the Neem tree well, 

Still watered with all care the tree 

Will never sweet and pleasant be. 

Thy mother's faults to thee descend, 

And with thy borrowed nature blend. 

True is the ancient saw: the Neem 

Can ne'er distil a honeyed stream. 

Taught by the tale of long ago 

Thy mother's hateful sin we know. 

A bounteous saint, as all have heard, 

A boon upon thy sire conferred, 

And all the eloquence revealed 

That fills the wood, the flood, the field. 

No creature walked, or swam, or flew, 

But he its varied language knew. 

474 The Ramayana 

One morn upon his couch he heard 
The chattering of a gorgeous bird. 
And as he marked its close intent 
He laughed aloud in merriment. 
Thy mother furious with her lord, 
And fain to perish by the cord, 
Said to her husband: "I would know, 
[137] O Monarch, why thou laughest so." 

The king in answer spake again: 
"If I this laughter should explain, 
This very hour would be my last, 
For death, be sure would follow fast." 
Again thy mother, flushed with ire, 
To Kekaya spake, thy royal sire: 
"Tell me the cause; then live or die: 
I will not brook thy laugh, not I." 
Thus by his darling wife addressed, 
The king whose might all earth confessed, 
To that kind saint his story told 
Who gave the wondrous gift of old. 
He listened to the king's complaint, 
And thus in answer spoke the saint: 
"King, let her quit thy home or die, 
But never with her prayer comply." 
The saint's reply his trouble stilled, 
And all his heart with pleasure filled. 
Thy mother from his home he sent, 
And days like Lord Kuvera's spent. 
So thou wouldst force the king, misled 
By thee, in evil paths to tread, 
And bent on evil wouldst begin, 
Through folly, this career of sin. 
Most true, methinks, in thee is shown 
The ancient saw so widely known: 

Canto XXXV. Kaikeyi Reproached. 475 

The sons their fathers' worth declare 
And girls their mothers' nature share. 
So be not thou. For pity's sake 
Accept the word the monarch spake. 
Thy husband's will, O Queen, obey, 
And be the people's hope and stay, 
O, do not, urged by folly, draw 
The king to tread on duty's law. 
The lord who all the world sustains, 
Bright as the God o'er Gods who reigns. 
Our glorious king, by sin unstained, 
Will never grant what fraud obtained; 
No shade of fault in him is seen: 
Let Rama be anointed, Queen. 
Remember, Queen, undying shame 
Will through the world pursue thy name, 
If Rama leave the king his sire, 
And, banished, to the wood retire. 
Come, from thy breast this fever fling: 
Of his own realm be Rama king. 
None in this city e'er can dwell 
To tend and love thee half so well. 
When Rama sits in royal place, 
True to the custom of his race 
Our monarch of the mighty bow 
A hermit to the woods will go." 310 

3 10 It was the custom of the kings of the solar dynasty to resign in their extreme 
old age the kingdom to the heir, and spend the remainder of their days in holy 
meditation in the forest: 

"For such through ages in their life's decline 
Is the good custom of Ikshvaku's line." 


476 The Ramayana 

Sumantra thus, palm joined to palm, 
Poured forth his words of bane and balm, 
With keen reproach, with pleading kind, 
Striving to move Kaikeyi's mind. 
In vain he prayed, in vain reproved, 
She heard unsoftened and unmoved. 
Nor could the eyes that watched her view 
One yielding look, one change of hue. 

Canto XXXVI. Siddharth's Speech. 

Ikshvaku's son with anguish torn 
For the great oath his lips had sworn, 
With tears and sighs of sharpest pain 
Thus to Sumantra spake again: 
"Prepare thou quick a perfect force, 
Cars, elephants, and foot, and horse, 
To follow Raghu's scion hence 
Equipped with all magnificence. 
Let traders with the wealth they sell, 
And those who charming stories tell, 
And dancing-women fair of face, 
The prince's ample chariots grace. 
On all the train who throng his courts, 
And those who share his manly sports, 
Great gifts of precious wealth bestow, 
And bid them with their master go. 
Let noble arms, and many a wain, 
And townsmen swell the prince's train; 
And hunters best for woodland skill 
Their places in the concourse fill. 

Canto XXXVI. Siddharths Speech. 477 

While elephants and deer he slays, 
Drinking wood honey as he strays, 
And looks on streams each fairer yet, 
His kingdom he may chance forget. 
Let all my gold and wealth of corn 
With Rama to the wilds be borne; 
For it will soothe the exile's lot 
To sacrifice in each pure spot, 
Deal ample largess forth, and meet 
Each hermit in his calm retreat. 
The wealth shall Rama with him bear, 
Ayodhya shall be Bharat's share." 

As thus Kakutstha's offspring spoke, 
Fear in Kaikeyi's breast awoke. 
The freshness of her face was dried, 
Her trembling tongue was terror-tied. 
Alarmed and sad, with bloodless cheek, 
She turned to him and scarce could speak: 
"Nay, Sire, but Bharat shall not gain 
An empty realm where none remain. 
My Bharat shall not rule a waste 
Reft of all sweets to charm the taste — 
The wine-cup's dregs, all dull and dead, 
Whence the light foam and life are fled." 

Thus in her rage the long-eyed dame 
Spoke her dire speech untouched by shame. [138] 

Then, answering, Dasaratha spoke: 
"Why, having bowed me to the yoke, 
Dost thou, must cruel, spur and goad 
Me who am struggling with the load? 
Why didst thou not oppose at first 
This hope, vile Queen, so fondly nursed?" 

478 The Ramayana 

Scarce could the monarch's angry speech 
The ears of the fair lady reach, 
When thus, with double wrath inflamed, 
Kaikeyi to the king exclaimed: 

"Sagar, from whom thy line is traced, 
Drove forth his eldest son disgraced, 
Called Asamanj, whose fate we know: 
Thus should thy son to exile go." 

"Fie on thee, dame!" the monarch said; 
Each of her people bent his head, 
And stood in shame and sorrow mute: 
She marked not, bold and resolute. 
Then great Siddharth, inflamed with rage, 
The good old councillor and sage 
On whose wise rede the king relied, 
To Queen Kaikeyi thus replied: 
"But Asamanj the cruel laid 
His hands on infants as they played, 
Cast them to Sarju's flood, and smiled 
For pleasure when he drowned a child." 311 
The people saw, and, furious, sped 
Straight the the king his sire and said: 
"Choose us, O glory of the throne, 
Choose us, or Asamanj alone." 

311 See Book I, Canto XXXIX. An Indian prince in more modern times appears 
to have diverted himself in a similar way. 

It is still reported in Belgaum that Appay Deasy was wont to amuse himself 
"by making several young and beautiful women stand side by side on a narrow 
balcony, without a parapet, overhanging the deep reservoir at the new palace 
in Nipani. He used then to pass along the line of trembling creatures, and 
suddenly thrusting one of them headlong into the water below, he used to 
watch her drowning, and derive pleasure from her dying agonies." — History 
of the Belgaum District. By H. J. Stokes, M. S. C. 

Canto XXXVI. Siddharths Speech. 479 

"Whence comes this dread?" the monarch cried; 

And all the people thus replied: 

"In folly, King, he loves to lay 

Fierce hands upon our babes at play, 

Casts them to Sarju's flood and joys 

To murder our bewildered boys." 

With heedful ear the king of men 

Heard each complaining citizen. 

To please their troubled minds he strove, 

And from the state his son he drove. 

With wife and gear upon a car 

He placed him quick, and sent him far. 

And thus he gave commandment, "He 

Shall all his days an exile be." 

With basket and with plough he strayed 

O'er mountain heights, through pathless shade, 

Roaming all lands a weary time, 

An outcast wretch defiled with crime. 

Sagar, the righteous path who held, 

His wicked offspring thus expelled. 

But what has Rama done to blame? 

Why should his sentence be the same? 

No sin his stainless name can dim; 

We see no fault at all in him. 

Pure as the moon, no darkening blot 

On his sweet life has left a spot. 

If thou canst see one fault, e'en one, 

To dim the fame of Raghu's son, 

That fault this hour, O lady, show, 

And Rama to the wood shall go. 

To drive the guiltless to the wild, 

Truth's constant lover, undefiled, 

Would, by defiance of the right, 

The glory e'en of Indra blight. 

480 The Ramayana 

Then cease, O lady, and dismiss 
Thy hope to ruin Rama's bliss, 
Or all thy gain, O fair of face, 
Will be men's hatred, and disgrace." 

Canto XXXVII. The Coats Of Bark. 

Thus spake the virtuous sage: and then 
Rama addressed the king of men. 
In laws of meek behaviour bred, 
Thus to his sire he meekly said: 

"King, I renounce all earthly care, 
And live in woods on woodland fare. 
What, dead to joys, have I to do 
With lordly train and retinue! 
Who gives his elephant and yet 
Upon the girths his heart will set? 
How can a cord attract his eyes 
Who gives away the nobler prize? 
Best of the good, with me be led 
No host, my King with banners spread. 
All wealth, all lordship I resign: 
The hermit's dress alone be mine. 
Before I go, have here conveyed 
A little basket and a spade. 
With these alone I go, content, 
For fourteen years of banishment." 

Canto XXXVII. The Coats Of Bark. 481 

With her own hands Kaikeyi took 
The hermit coats of bark, and, "Look," 
She cried with bold unblushing brow 
Before the concourse, "Dress thee now." 
That lion leader of the brave 
Took from her hand the dress she gave, 

Cast his fine raiment on the ground, [139] 

And round his waist the vesture bound. 
Then quick the hero Lakshman too 
His garment from his shoulders threw, 
And, in the presence of his sire, 
Indued the ascetic's rough attire. 
But Sita, in her silks arrayed, 
Threw glances, trembling and afraid, 
On the bark coat she had to wear, 
Like a shy doe that eyes the snare. 
Ashamed and weeping for distress 
From the queen's hand she took the dress. 
The fair one, by her husband's side 
Who matched heaven's minstrel monarch, 312 cried: 
"How bind they on their woodland dress, 
Those hermits of the wilderness?" 

There stood the pride of Janak's race 
Perplexed, with sad appealing face. 
One coat the lady's fingers grasped, 
One round her neck she feebly clasped, 
But failed again, again, confused 
By the wild garb she ne'er had used. 
Then quickly hastening Rama, pride 
Of all who cherish virtue, tied 
The rough bark mantle on her, o'er 
The silken raiment that she wore. 

312 Chitraratha, King of the celestial choristers. 

482 The Ramayana 

Then the sad women when they saw 
Rama the choice bark round her draw, 
Rained water from each tender eye, 
And cried aloud with bitter cry: 
"O, not on her, beloved, not 
On Sita falls thy mournful lot. 
If, faithful to thy father's will, 
Thou must go forth, leave Sita still. 
Let Sita still remaining here 
Our hearts with her loved presence cheer. 
With Lakshman by thy side to aid 
Seek thou, dear son, the lonely shade. 
Unmeet, one good and fair as she 
Should dwell in woods a devotee. 
Let not our prayers be prayed in vain: 
Let beauteous Sita yet remain; 
For by thy love of duty tied 
Thou wilt not here thyself abide." 

Then the king's venerable guide 
Vasishtha, when he saw each coat 
Enclose the lady's waist and throat, 
Her zeal with gentle words repressed, 
And Queen Kaikeyi thus addressed: 
"O evil-hearted sinner, shame 
Of royal Kekaya's race and name; 
Who matchless in thy sin couldst cheat 
Thy lord the king with vile deceit; 
Lost to all sense of duty, know 
Sita to exile shall not go. 
Sita shall guard, as 'twere her own, 
The precious trust of Rama's throne. 
Those joined by wedlock's sweet control 
Have but one self and common soul. 

Canto XXXVII. The Coats Of Bark. 483 

Thus Sita shall our empress be, 
For Rama's self and soul is she. 
Or if she still to Rama cleave 
And for the woods the kingdom leave: 
If naught her loving heart deter, 
We and this town will follow her. 
The warders of the queen shall take 
Their wives and go for Rama's sake, 
The nation with its stores of grain, 
The city's wealth shall swell his train. 
Bharat, Satrughna both will wear 
Bark mantles, and his lodging share, 
Still with their elder brother dwell 
In the wild wood, and serve him well. 
Rest here alone, and rule thy state 
Unpeopled, barren, desolate; 
Be empress of the land and trees, 
Thou sinner whom our sorrows please. 
The land which Rama reigns not o'er 
Shall bear the kingdom's name no more: 
The woods which Rama wanders through 
Shall be our home and kingdom too. 
Bharat, be sure, will never deign 
O'er realms his father yields, to reign. 
Nay, if the king's true son he be, 
He will not, sonlike, dwell with thee. 
Nay, shouldst thou from the earth arise, 
And send thy message from the skies, 
To his forefathers' custom true 
No erring course would he pursue. 
So hast thou, by thy grievous fault, 
Offended him thou wouldst exalt. 
In all the world none draws his breath 
Who loves not Rama, true to death. 

484 The Ramayana 

This day, O Queen, shalt thou behold 
Birds, deer, and beasts from lea and fold 
Turn to the woods in Rama's train. 
And naught save longing trees remain." 

Canto XXXVIII. Care For Kausalya 

Then when the people wroth and sad 
Saw Sita in bark vesture clad, 
Though wedded, like some widowed thing, 
They cried out, "Shame upon thee, King!" 
Grieved by their cry and angry look 
The lord of earth at once forsook 
All hope in life that still remained, 
In duty, self, and fame unstained. 
Ikshvaku's son with burning sighs 
On Queen Kaikeyi bent his eyes, 
And said: "But Sita must not flee 
In garments of a devotee. 
My holy guide has spoken truth: 
[140] Unfit is she in tender youth, 

So gently nurtured, soft and fair, 
The hardships of the wood to share. 
How has she sinned, devout and true, 

The noblest monarch's child, 
That she should garb of bark indue 

And journey to the wild? 
That she should spend her youthful days 

Amid a hermit band, 
Like some poor mendicant who strays 

Sore troubled, through the land? 

Canto XXXVIII. Care For Kausalya 485 

Ah, let the child of Janak throw 
Her dress of bark aside, 

And let the royal lady go 
With royal wealth supplied. 

Not such the pledge I gave before, 
Unfit to linger here: 

The oath, which I the sinner swore 
Is kept, and leaves her clear. 

Won from her childlike love this too 
My instant death would be, 

As blossoms on the old bamboo 
Destroy the parent tree. 313 
If aught amiss by Rama done 
Offend thee, O thou wicked one, 
What least transgression canst thou find 
In her, thou worst of womankind? 
What shade of fault in her appears, 
Whose full soft eye is like the deer's? 
What canst thou blame in Janak's child, 
So gentle, modest, true, and mild? 
Is not one crime complete, that sent 
My Rama forth to banishment? 
And wilt thou other sins commit, 
Thou wicked one, to double it? 
This is the pledge and oath I swore, 
What thou besoughtest, and no more, 
Of Rama — for I heard thee, dame — 
When he for consecration came. 
Now with this limit not content, 
In hell should be thy punishment, 
Who fain the Maithil bride wouldst press 
To clothe her limbs with hermit dress." 

313 It is said that the bamboo dies after flowering. 

486 The Ramayana 

Thus spake the father in his woe; 
And Rama, still prepared to go, 
To him who sat with drooping head 
Spake in return these words and said: 

"Just King, here stands my mother dear, 
Kausalya, one whom all revere. 
Submissive, gentle, old is she, 
And keeps her lips from blame of thee, 
For her, kind lord, of me bereft 
A sea of whelming woe is left. 
O, show her in her new distress 
Still fonder love and tenderness. 
Well honoured by thine honoured hand 
Her grief for me let her withstand, 
Who wrapt in constant thought of me 
In me would live a devotee. 
Peer of Mahendra, O, to her be kind, 
And treat I pray, my gentle mother so, 
That, when I dwell afar, her life resigned, 
She may not pass to Yama's realm for woe." 

Canto XXXIX. Counsel To SM. 

Scarce had the sire, with each dear queen, 
Heard Rama's pleading voice, and seen 
His darling in his hermit dress 
Ere failed his senses for distress. 
Convulsed with woe, his soul that shook, 
On Raghu's son he could not look; 
Or if he looked with failing eye 

Canto XXXIX. Counsel To SM. 487 

He could not to the chief reply. 

By pangs of bitter grief assailed, 

The long-armed monarch wept and wailed, 

Half dead a while and sore distraught, 

While Rama filled his every thought. 

"This hand of mine in days ere now 

Has reft her young from many a cow, 

Or living things has idly slain: 

Hence comes, I ween, this hour of pain. 

Not till the hour is come to die 

Can from its shell the spirit fly. 

Death comes not, and Kaikeyi still 

Torments the wretch she cannot kill, 

Who sees his son before him quit 

The fine soft robes his rank that fit, 

And, glorious as the burning fire, 

In hermit garb his limbs attire. 

Now all the people grieve and groan 

Through Queen Kaikeyfs deed alone, 

Who, having dared this deed of sin, 

Strives for herself the gain to win." 

He spoke. With tears his eyes grew dim, 
His senses all deserted him. 
He cried, O Rama, once, then weak 
And fainting could no further speak. 
Unconscious there he lay: at length 
Regathering his sense and strength, 
While his full eyes their torrents shed, 
To wise Sumantra thus he said: 
"Yoke the light car, and hither lead 
Fleet coursers of the noblest breed, 
And drive this heir of lofty fate 
Beyond the limit of the state. 

488 The Ramayana 

This seems the fruit that virtues bear, 
The meed of worth which texts declare — 
The sending of the brave and good 
By sire and mother to the wood.'" 

He heard the monarch, and obeyed, 
With ready feet that ne'er delayed, 
And brought before the palace gate 
The horses and the car of state. 
Then to the monarch's son he sped, 
[141] And raising hands of reverence said 

That the light car which gold made fair, 

With best of steeds, was standing there. 

King Dasaratha called in haste 

The lord o'er all his treasures placed. 

And spoke, well skilled in place and time, 

His will to him devoid of crime: 

"Count all the years she has to live 

Afar in forest wilds, and give 

To Sita robes and gems of price 

As for the time may well suffice." 

Quick to the treasure-room he went, 

Charged by that king most excellent, 

Brought the rich stores, and gave them all 

To Sita in the monarch's hall. 

The Maithil dame of high descent 

Received each robe and ornament, 

And tricked those limbs, whose lines foretold 

High destiny, with gems and gold. 

So well adorned, so fair to view, 

A glory through the hall she threw: 

So, when the Lord of Light upsprings, 

His radiance o'er the sky he flings. 

Then Queen Kausalya spake at last, 

Canto XXXIX. Counsel To SM. 489 

With loving arms about her cast, 
Pressed lingering kisses on her head, 
And to the high-souled lady said: 
"Ah, in this faithless world below 
When dark misfortune comes and woe, 
Wives, loved and cherished every day, 
Neglect their lords and disobey. 
Yes, woman's nature still is this: — 
After long days of calm and bliss 
When some light grief her spirit tries, 
She changes all her love, or flies. 
Young wives are thankless, false in soul, 
With roving hearts that spurn control. 
Brooding on sin and quickly changed, 
In one short hour their love estranged. 
Not glorious deed or lineage fair, 
Not knowledge, gift, or tender care 
In chains of lasting love can bind 
A woman's light inconstant mind. 
But those good dames who still maintain 
What right, truth, Scripture, rule ordain — 
No holy thing in their pure eyes 
With one beloved husband vies. 
Nor let thy lord my son, condemned 
To exile, be by thee contemned, 
For be he poor or wealthy, he 
Is as a God, dear child, to thee." 

When Sita heard Kausalya's speech 
Her duty and her gain to teach, 
She joined her palms with reverent grace 
And gave her answer face to face: 
"All will I do, forgetting naught, 
Which thou, O honoured Queen, hast taught. 

490 The Ramayana 

I know, have heard, and deep have stored 

The rules of duty to my lord. 

Not me, good Queen, shouldst thou include 

Among the faithless multitude. 

Its own sweet light the moon shall leave 

Ere I to duty cease to cleave. 

The stringless lute gives forth no strain, 

The wheelless car is urged in vain; 

No joy a lordless dame, although 

Blest with a hundred sons, can know. 

From father, brother, and from son 

A measured share of joy is won: 

Who would not honour, love, and bless 

Her lord, whose gifts are measureless? 

Thus trained to think, I hold in awe 

Scripture's command and duty's law. 

Him can I hold in slight esteem? 

Her lord is woman's God, I deem." 

Kausalya heard the lady's speech, 

Nor failed those words her heart to reach. 

Then, pure in mind, she gave to flow 

The tear that sprang of joy and woe. 

Then duteous Rama forward came 

And stood before the honoured dame, 

And joining reverent hands addressed 

The queen in rank above the rest: 

"O mother, from these tears refrain; 

Look on my sire and still thy pain. 

To thee my days afar shall fly 

As if sweet slumber closed thine eye, 

And fourteen years of exile seem 

To thee, dear mother, like a dream. 

On me returning safe and well, 

Girt by my friends, thine eyes shall dwell." 

Canto XL. Rama's Departure. 491 

Thus for their deep affection's sake 
The hero to his mother spake, 
Then to the half seven hundred too, 
Wives of his sire, paid reverence due. 
Thus Dasaratha's son addressed 
That crowd of matrons sore distressed: 
"If from these lips, while here I dwelt, 
One heedless taunt you e'er have felt, 
Forgive me, pray. And now adieu, 
I bid good-bye to all of you." 
Then straight, like curlews' cries, upwent 
The voices of their wild lament, 
While, as he bade farewell, the crowd 
Of royal women wept aloud, 
And through the ample hall's extent. 
Where erst the sound of tabour, blent 
With drum and shrill-toned instrument, 

In joyous concert rose, 
Now rang the sound of wailing high, 
The lamentation and the cry, 
The shriek, the choking sob, the sigh 

That told the ladies' woes. 

Canto XL. Rama's Departure. 

Then Rama, Sita, Lakshman bent 

At the king's feet, and sadly went [142] 

492 The Ramayana 

Round him with slow steps reverent. 

When Rama of the duteous heart 

Had gained his sire's consent to part, 

With Sita by his side he paid 

Due reverence to the queen dismayed. 

And Lakshman, with affection meet, 

Bowed down and clasped his mother's feet. 

Sumitra viewed him as he pressed 

Her feet, and thus her son addressed: 

"Neglect not Rama wandering there, 

But tend him with thy faithful care. 

In hours of wealth, in time of woe, 

Him, sinless son, thy refuge know. 

From this good law the just ne'er swerve, 

That younger sons the eldest serve, 

And to this righteous rule incline 

All children of thine ancient line — 

Freely to give, reward each rite, 

Nor spare their bodies in the fight. 

Let Rama Dasaratha be, 

Look upon Sita as on me, 

And let the cot wherein you dwell 

Be thine Ayodhya. Fare thee well." 

Her blessing thus Sumitra gave 

To him whose soul to Rama clave, 

Exclaiming, when her speech was done, 

"Go forth, O Lakshman, go, my son. 

Go forth, my son to win success, 

High victory and happiness. 

Go forth thy foemen to destroy, 

And turn again at last with joy." 

As Matali his charioteer 
Speaks for the Lord of Gods to hear, 

Canto XL. Rama's Departure. 493 

Sumantra, palm to palm applied, 
In reverence trained, to Rama cried: 
"0 famous Prince, my car ascend, — 
May blessings on thy course attend, — 
And swiftly shall my horses flee 
And place thee where thou biddest me. 
The fourteen years thou hast to stay 
Far in the wilds, begin to-day; 
For Oueen Kaikeyi cries, Away." 

Then Sita, best of womankind, 
Ascended, with a tranquil mind, 
Soon as her toilet task was done, 
That chariot brilliant as the sun. 
Rama and Lakshman true and bold 
Sprang on the car adorned with gold. 
The king those years had counted o'er, 
And given Sita robes and store 
Of precious ornaments to wear 
When following her husband there. 
The brothers in the car found place 
For nets and weapons of the chase, 
There warlike arms and mail they laid, 
A leathern basket and a spade. 
Soon as Sumantra saw the three 
Were seated in the chariot, he 
Urged on each horse of noble breed, 
Who matched the rushing wind in speed. 
As thus the son of Raghu went 
Forth for his dreary banishment, 
Chill numbing grief the town assailed, 
All strength grew weak, all spirit failed, 
Ayodhya through her wide extent 
Was filled with tumult and lament: 

494 The Ramayana 

Steeds neighed and shook the bells they bore, 

Each elephant returned a roar. 

Then all the city, young and old, 

Wild with their sorrow uncontrolled, 

Rushed to the car, as, from the sun 

The panting herds to water run. 

Before the car, behind, they clung, 

And there as eagerly they hung, 

With torrents streaming from their eyes, 

Called loudly with repeated cries: 

"Listen, Sumantra: draw thy rein; 

Drive gently, and thy steeds restrain. 

Once more on Rama will we gaze, 

Now to be lost for many days. 

The queen his mother has, be sure, 

A heart of iron, to endure 

To see her godlike Rama go, 

Nor feel it shattered by the blow. 

Sita, well done! Videha's pride, 

Still like his shadow by his side; 

Rejoicing in thy duty still 

As sunlight cleaves to Meru's hill. 

Thou, Lakshman, too, hast well deserved, 

Who from thy duty hast not swerved, 

Tending the peer of Gods above, 

Whose lips speak naught but words of love. 

Thy firm resolve is nobly great, 

And high success on thee shall wait. 

Yea, thou shalt win a priceless meed — 

Thy path with him to heaven shall lead." 

As thus they spake, they could not hold 

The tears that down their faces rolled, 

While still they followed for a space 

Their darling of Ikshvaku's race. 

Canto XL. Rama's Departure. 495 

There stood surrounded by a ring 
Of mournful wives the mournful king; 
For, "I will see once more," he cried, 
"Mine own dear son," and forth he hied. 
As he came near, there rose the sound 
Of weeping, as the dames stood round. 
So the she-elephants complain 
When their great lord and guide is slain. 
Kakutstha's son, the king of men, 
The glorious sire, looked troubled then, 
As the full moon is when dismayed 
By dark eclipse's threatening shade. 
Then Dasaratha's son, designed 
For highest fate of lofty mind, 
Urged to more speed the charioteer, 
"Away, away! why linger here? 
Urge on thy horses," Rama cried, 
And "Stay, O stay," the people sighed. 
Sumantra, urged to speed away, 
The townsmen's call must disobey, 

Forth as the long-armed hero went, [143] 

The dust his chariot wheels up sent 
Was laid by streams that ever flowed 
From their sad eyes who filled the road. 
Then, sprung of woe, from eyes of all 
The women drops began to fall, 
As from each lotus on the lake 
The darting fish the water shake. 
When he, the king of high renown, 
Saw that one thought held all the town, 
Like some tall tree he fell and lay, 
Whose root the axe has hewn away. 
Then straight a mighty cry from those 
Who followed Rama's car arose, 

496 The Ramayana 

Who saw their monarch fainting there 

Beneath that grief too great to bear. 

Then "Rama, Rama!" with the cry 

Of "Ah, his mother!" sounded high, 

As all the people wept aloud 

Around the ladies' sorrowing crowd. 

When Rama backward turned his eye, 

And saw the king his father lie 

With troubled sense and failing limb, 

And the sad queen, who followed him, 

Like some young creature in the net, 

That will not, in its misery, let 

Its wild eyes on its mother rest, 

So, by the bonds of duty pressed, 

His mother's look he could not meet. 

He saw them with their weary feet, 

Who, used to bliss, in cars should ride, 

Who ne'er by sorrow should be tried, 

And, as one mournful look he cast, 

"Drive on," he cried, "Sumantra, fast." 

As when the driver's torturing hook 

Goads on an elephant, the look 

Of sire and mother in despair 

Was more than Rama's heart could bear. 

As mother kine to stalls return 

Which hold the calves for whom they yearn, 

So to the car she tried to run 

As a cow seeks her little one. 

Once and again the hero's eyes 

Looked on his mother, as with cries 

Of woe she called and gestures wild, 

"O SM, Lakshman, O my child!" 

"Stay," cried the king, "thy chariot stay:" 

"On, on," cried Rama, "speed away." 

Canto XLI. The Citizens' Lament. 497 

As one between two hosts, inclined 

To neither was Sumantra's mind. 

But Rama spake these words again: 

"A lengthened woe is bitterest pain. 

On, on; and if his wrath grow hot, 

Thine answer be, T heard thee not.' " 

Sumantra, at the chiefs behest, 

Dismissed the crowd that toward him pressed, 

And, as he bade, to swiftest speed 

Urged on his way each willing steed. 

The king's attendants parted thence, 

And paid him heart-felt reverence: 

In mind, and with the tears he wept, 

Each still his place near Rama kept. 

As swift away the horses sped, 

His lords to Dasaratha said: 

"To follow him whom thou again 

Wouldst see returning home is vain." 

With failing limb and drooping mien 
He heard their counsel wise: 

Still on their son the king and queen 
Kept fast their lingering eyes. 314 

Canto XLI. The Citizens' Lament. 

314 "Thirty centuries have passed since he began this memorable journey. Every 
step of it is known and is annually traversed by thousands: hero worship is not 
extinct. What can Faith do! How strong are the ties of religion when entwined 
with the legends of a country! How many a cart creeps creaking and weary 
along the road from Ayodhya to Chitrakiit. It is this that gives the Ramayan a 
strange interest, the story still lives." Calcutta Review: Vol. XXIII. 

498 The Ramayana 

The lion chief with hands upraised 
Was born from eyes that fondly gazed. 
But then the ladies' bower was rent 
With cries of weeping and lament: 
"Where goes he now, our lord, the sure 
Protector of the friendless poor, 
In whom the wretched and the weak 
Defence and aid were wont to seek? 
All words of wrath he turned aside, 
And ne'er, when cursed, in ire replied. 
He shared his people's woe, and stilled 
The troubled breast which rage had filled. 
Our chief, on lofty thoughts intent, 
In glorious fame preeminent: 
As on his own dear mother, thus 
He ever looked on each of us. 
Where goes he now? His sire's behest, 
By Queen Kaikeyfs guile distressed, 
Has banished to the forest hence 
Him who was all the world's defence. 
Ah, senseless King, to drive away 
The hope of men, their guard and stay, 
To banish to the distant wood 
Rama the duteous, true, and good!" 
The royal dames, like cows bereaved 
Of their young calves, thus sadly grieved. 
The monarch heard them as they wailed, 
And by the fire of grief assailed 
For his dear son, he bowed his head, 
And all his sense and memory fled. 

Then were no fires of worship fed, 
Thick darkness o'er the sun was spread. 
The cows their thirsty calves denied, 

Canto XLI. The Citizens' Lament. 499 

And elephants flung their food aside. [144] 

Trisanku, 315 Jupiter looked dread, 

And Mercury and Mars the red, 

In direful opposition met, 

The glory of the moon beset. 

The lunar stars withheld their light, 

The planets were no longer bright, 

But meteors with their horrid glare, 

And dire Visakhas 316 lit the air. 

As troubled Ocean heaves and raves 

When Doom's wild tempest sweeps the waves, 

Thus all Ayodhya reeled and bent 

When Rama to the forest went. 

And chilling grief and dark despair 

Fell suddenly on all men there. 

Their wonted pastime all forgot, 

Nor thought of food, or touched it not. 

Crowds in the royal street were seen 

With weeping eye and troubled mien: 

No more a people gay and glad, 

Each head and heart was sick and sad. 

No more the cool wind softly blew, 

The moon no more was fair to view, 

No more the sun with genial glow 

Cherished the world now plunged in woe. 

Sons, brothers, husbands, wedded wives 

Forgot the ties that joined their lives; 

No thought for kith and kin was spared, 

But all for only Rama cared. 

And Rama's friends who loved him best, 

Their minds disordered and distressed. 

By the great burthen of their woes 

315 See p. 72. 

500 The Ramayana 

Turned not to slumber or repose. 
Like Earth with all her hills bereft 
Of Indra's guiding care. 
Ayodhya in her sorrow left 

By him, the high souled heir, 
Was bowed by fear and sorrow's force, 

And shook with many a throe, 
While warrior, elephant, and horse 
Sent up the cry of woe. 

Canto XLII. Dasaratha's Lament. 

While yet the dust was seen afar 

That marked the course of Rama's car, 

The glory of Ikshvaku's race 

Turned not away his eager face. 

While yet his duteous son he saw 

He could not once his gaze withdraw, 

But rooted to the spot remained 

With eyes that after Rama strained. 

But when that dust no more he viewed, 

Fainting he fell by grief subdued. 

To his right hand Kausalya went, 

And ready aid the lady lent, 

While Bharat's loving mother tried 

To raise him on the other side. 

The king, within whose ordered soul 

Justice and virtue held control, 

To Queen Kaikeyi turned and said, 

With every sense disquieted: 

"Touch me not, thou whose soul can plot 

Canto XLII. Dasaratha's Lament. 501 

All sin. Kaikeyi, touch me not. 

No loving wife, no friend to me, 

I ne'er again would look on thee; 

Ne'er from this day have aught to do 

With thee and all thy retinue; 

Thee whom no virtuous thoughts restrain, 

Whose selfish heart seeks only gain. 

The hand I laid in mine, O dame, 

The steps we took around the flame, 317 

And all that links thy life to mine 

Here and hereafter I resign. 

If Bharat too, thy darling son, 

Joy in the rule thy art has won, 

Ne'er may the funeral offerings paid 

By his false hand approach my shade." 

Then while the dust upon him hung, 
The monarch to Kausalya clung, 
And she with mournful steps and slow 
Turned to the palace, worn with woe. 
As one whose hand has touched the fire, 
Or slain a Brahman in his ire, 
He felt his heart with sorrow torn 
Still thinking of his son forlorn. 
Each step was torture, as the road 
The traces of the chariot showed, 
And as the shadowed sun grows dim 
So care and anguish darkened him. 
He raised a cry, by woe distraught, 
As of his son again he thought. 
And judging that the car had sped 
Beyond the city, thus he said: 
"I still behold the foot-prints made 

317 In the marriage service. 

502 The Ramayana 

By the good horses that conveyed 
My son afar: these marks I see, 
But high-souled Rama, where is he? 
Ah me, my son! my first and best, 
On pleasant couches wont to rest, 
With limbs perfumed with sandal, fanned 
By many a beauty's tender hand: 
Where will he lie with log or stone 
Beneath him for a pillow thrown, 
To leave at morn his earthy bed, 
Neglected, and with dust o'erspread, 
As from the flood with sigh and pant 
Comes forth the husband elephant? 
The men who make the woods their home 
Shall see the long-armed hero roam 
Roused from his bed, though lord of all, 
In semblance of a friendless thrall. 
[145] Janak's dear child who ne'er has met 

With aught save joy and comfort yet, 
Will reach to-day the forest, worn 
And wearied with the brakes of thorn. 
Ah, gentle girl, of woods unskilled, 
How will her heart with dread be filled 
At the wild beasts' deep roaring there, 
Whose voices lift the shuddering hair! 
Kaikeyi, glory in thy gain, 
And, widow queen, begin to reign: 
No will, no power to live have I 
When my brave son no more is nigh." 

Thus pouring forth laments, the king 
Girt by the people's crowded ring, 
Entered the noble bower like one 
New-bathed when funeral rites are done. 

Canto XLII. Dasaratha's Lament. 503 

Where'er he looked naught met his gaze 
But empty houses, courts, and ways. 
Closed were the temples: countless feet 
No longer trod the royal street, 
And thinking of his son he viewed 
Men weak and worn and woe-subdued. 
As sinks the sun into a cloud, 
So passed he on, and wept aloud, 
Within that house no more to be 
The dwelling of the banished three, 
Brave Rama, his Vedehan bride, 
And Lakshman by his brother's side: 
Like broad still waters, when the king 
Of all the birds that ply the wing 
Has swooped from heaven and borne away 
The glittering snakes that made them gay. 
With choking sobs and voice half spent 
The king renewed his sad lament: 
With broken utterance faint and low 
Scarce could he speak these words of woe: 
"My steps to Rama's mother guide, 
And place me by Kausalya's side: 
There, only there my heart may know 
Some little respite from my woe." 

The warders of the palace led 
The monarch, when his words were said, 
To Queen Kausalya's bower, and there 
Laid him with reverential care. 
But while he rested on the bed 
Still was his soul disquieted. 
In grief he tossed his arms on high 
Lamenting with a piteous cry: 
"O Rama, Rama," thus said he, 

504 The Ramayana 

"My son, thou hast forsaken me. 

High bliss awaits those favoured men 

Left living in Ayodhya then, 

Whose eyes shall see my son once more 

Returning when the time is o'er." 

Then came the night, whose hated gloom 

Fell on him like the night of doom. 

At midnight Dasaratha cried 

To Queen Kausalya by his side: 

"I see thee not, Kausalya; lay 

Thy gentle hand in mine, I pray. 

When Rama left his home my sight 

Went with him, nor returns to-night." 

Canto XLIII. Kausalya's Lament. 

Kausalya saw the monarch lie 
With drooping frame and failing eye, 
And for her banished son distressed 
With these sad words her lord addressed: 
"Kaikeyi, cruel, false, and vile 
Has cast the venom of her guile 
On Rama lord of men, and she 
Will ravage like a snake set free; 
And more and more my soul alarm, 
Like a dire serpent bent on harm, 
For triumph crowns each dark intent, 
And Rama to the wild is sent. 
Ah, were he doomed but here to stray 
Begging his food from day to day, 
Or do, enslaved, Kaikeyfs will, 

Canto XLIII. Kausalya's Lament. 505 

This were a boon, a comfort still. 
But she, as chose her cruel hate, 
Has hurled him from his high estate, 
As Brahmans when the moon is new 
Cast to the ground the demons' due. 318 
The long-armed hero, like the lord 
Of Nagas, with his bow and sword 
Begins, I ween, his forest life 
With Lakshman and his faithful wife. 
Ah, how will fare the exiles now, 
Whom, moved by Queen Kaikeyi, thou 
Hast sent in forests to abide, 
Bred in delights, by woe untried? 
Far banished when their lives are young, 
With the fair fruit before them hung, 
Deprived of all their rank that suits, 
How will they live on grain and roots? 
O, that my years of woe were passed, 
And the glad hour were come at last 
When I shall see my children dear, 
Rama, his wife, and Lakshman here! 
When shall Ayodhya, wild with glee, 
Again those mighty heroes see, 
And decked with wreaths her banners wave 
To welcome home the true and brave? 
When will the beautiful city view 
With happy eyes the lordly two 
Returning, joyful as the main 
When the dear moon is full again? 
When, like some mighty bull who leads 
The cow exulting through the meads, 
Will Rama through the city ride, 

506 The Ramayana 

Strong-armed, with Sita at his side? 
When will ten thousand thousand meet 
And crowd Ayodhya's royal street, 
And grain in joyous welcome throw 
Upon my sons who tame the foe? 
When with delight shall youthful bands 
[146] Of Brahman maidens in their hands 

Bear fruit and flowers in goodly show, 
And circling round Ayodhya go? 
With ripened judgment of a sage, 
And godlike in his blooming age, 
When shall my virtuous son appear, 
Like kindly rain, our hearts to cheer? 
Ah, in a former life, I ween, 
This hand of mine, most base and mean, 
Has dried the udders of the kine 
And left the thirsty calves to pine. 
Hence, as the lion robs the cow, 
Kaikeyi makes me childless now, 
Exulting from her feebler foe 
To rend the son she cherished so. 
I had but him, in Scripture skilled, 
With every grace his soul was filled. 
Now not a joy has life to give, 
And robbed of him I would not live: 
Yea, all my days are dark and drear 
If he, my darling, be not near, 
And Lakshman brave, my heart to cheer. 
As for my son I mourn and yearn, 
The quenchless flames of anguish burn 

And kill me with the pain, 
As in the summer's noontide blaze 
The glorious Day-God with his rays 

Consumes the parching plain." 

Canto XLIV. Sumitra's Speech. 507 

Canto XLIV. Sumitra's Speech. 

Kausalya ceased her sad lament, 

Of beauteous dames most excellent. 

Sumitra who to duty clave, 

In righteous words this answer gave: 

"Dear Queen, all noble virtues grace 

Thy son, of men the first in place. 

Why dost thou shed these tears of woe 

With bitter grief lamenting so? 

If Rama, leaving royal sway 

Has hastened to the woods away, 

Tis for his high-souled father's sake 

That he his premise may not break. 

He to the path of duty clings 

Which lordly fruit hereafter brings — 

The path to which the righteous cleave — 

For him, dear Queen, thou shouldst not grieve. 

And Lakshman too, the blameless-souled, 

The same high course with him will hold, 

And mighty bliss on him shall wait, 

So tenderly compassionate. 

And Sita, bred with tender care, 

Well knows what toils await her there, 

But in her love she will not part 

From Rama of the virtuous heart. 

Now has thy son through all the world 

The banner of his fame unfurled; 

True, modest, careful of his vow, 

What has he left to aim at now? 

The sun will mark his mighty soul, 

His wisdom, sweetness, self-control, 

Will spare from pain his face and limb, 

And with soft radiance shine for him. 

508 The Ramayana 

For him through forest glades shall spring 
A soft auspicious breeze, and bring 
Its tempered heat and cold to play 
Around him ever night and day. 
The pure cold moonbeams shall delight 
The hero as he sleeps at night, 
And soothe him with the soft caress 
Of a fond parent's tenderness. 
To him, the bravest of the brave, 
His heavenly arms the Brahman gave, 
When fierce Suvahu dyed the plain 
With his life-blood by Rama slain. 
Still trusting to his own right arm 
Thy hero son will fear no harm: 
As in his father's palace, he 
In the wild woods will dauntless be. 
Whene'er he lets his arrows fly 
His stricken foemen fall and die: 
And is that prince of peerless worth 
Too weak to keep and sway the earth? 
His sweet pure soul, his beauty's charm, 
His hero heart, his warlike arm, 
Will soon redeem his rightful reign 
When from the woods he comes again. 
The Brahmans on the prince's head 
King-making drops shall quickly shed, 
And Sita, Earth, and Fortune share 
The glories which await the heir. 
For him, when forth his chariot swept, 
The crowd that thronged Ayodhya wept, 
With agonizing woe distressed. 
With him in hermit's mantle dressed 
In guise of Sita Lakshmi went, 
And none his glory may prevent. 

Canto XLIV. Sumitra's Speech. 509 

Yea, naught to him is high or hard, 

Before whose steps, to be his guard, 

Lakshman, the best who draws the bow, 

With spear, shaft, sword rejoiced to go. 

His wanderings in the forest o'er, 

Thine eyes shall see thy son once more, 

Quit thy faint heart, thy grief dispel, 

For this, O Queen, is truth I tell. 

Thy son returning, moonlike, thence, 

Shall at thy feet do reverence, 

And, blest and blameless lady, thou 

Shalt see his head to touch them bow, 

Yea, thou shalt see thy son made king 

When he returns with triumphing, 

And how thy happy eyes will brim 

With tears of joy to look on him! 

Thou, blameless lady, shouldst the whole 

Of the sad people here console: 

Why in thy tender heart allow 

This bitter grief to harbour now? 

As the long banks of cloud distil 

Their water when they see the hill, [147] 

So shall the drops of rapture run 

From thy glad eyes to see thy son 

Returning, as he lowly bends 

To greet thee, girt by all his friends." 

Thus soothing, kindly eloquent, 
With every hopeful argument 
Kausalya's heart by sorrow rent, 

Fair Queen Sumitra ceased. 
Kausalya heard each pleasant plea, 
And grief began to leave her free, 
As the light clouds of autumn flee, 

510 The Ramay ana 

Their watery stores decreased. 

Canto XLV. The Tamasa. 

Their tender love the people drew 

To follow Rama brave and true, 

The high-souled hero, as he went 

Forth from his home to banishment. 

The king himself his friends obeyed, 

And turned him homeward as they prayed. 

But yet the people turned not back, 

Still close on Rama's chariot track. 

For they who in Ayodhya dwelt 

For him such fond affection felt, 

Decked with all grace and glories high, 

The dear full moon of every eye. 

Though much his people prayed and wept, 

Kakutstha's son his purpose kept, 

And still his journey would pursue 

To keep the king his father true. 

Deep in the hero's bosom sank 

Their love, whose signs his glad eye drank. 

He spoke to cheer them, as his own 

Dear children, in a loving tone: 

"If ye would grant my fond desire, 

Give Bharat now that love entire 

And reverence shown to me by all 

Who dwell within Ayodhya's wall. 

For he, Kaikeyfs darling son, 

His virtuous career will run, 

And ever bound by duty's chain 

Canto XLV. The Tamasa. 511 

Consult your weal and bliss and gain. 
In judgment old, in years a child, 
With hero virtues meek and mild, 
A fitting lord is he to cheer 
His people and remove their fear. 
In him all kingly gifts abound, 
More noble than in me are found: 
Imperial prince, well proved and tried — 
Obey him as your lord and guide. 
And grant, I pray, the boon I ask: 
To please the king be still your task, 
That his fond heart, while I remain 
Far in the wood, may feel no pain." 

The more he showed his will to tread 
The path where filial duty led, 
The more the people, round him thronged, 
For their dear Rama's empire longed. 
Still more attached his followers grew, 
As Rama, with his brother, drew 
The people with his virtues' ties, 
Lamenting all with tear-dimmed eyes. 
The saintly twice-born, triply old 
In glory, knowledge, seasons told, 
With hoary heads that shook and bowed, 
Their voices raised and spake aloud: 
"O steeds, who best and noblest are, 
Who whirl so swiftly Rama's car, 
Go not, return: we call on you: 
Be to your master kind and true. 
For speechless things are swift to hear, 
And naught can match a horse's ear, 
O generous steeds, return, when thus 
You hear the cry of all of us. 

512 The Ramayana 

Each vow he keeps most firm and sure, 
And duty makes his spirit pure. 
Back with our chief! not wood-ward hence; 
Back to his royal residence!" 

Soon as he saw the aged band. 
Exclaiming in their misery, stand, 
And their sad cries around him rang, 
Swift from his chariot Rama sprang. 
Then, still upon his journey bent, 
With Sita and with Lakshman went 
The hero by the old men's side 
Suiting to theirs his shortened stride. 
He could not pass the twice-born throng 
As weariedly they walked along: 
With pitying heart, with tender eye, 
He could not in his chariot fly. 
When the steps of Rama viewed 
That still his onward course pursued, 
Woe shook the troubled heart of each, 
And burnt with grief they spoke this speech — 

"With thee, O Rama, to the wood 
All Brahmans go and Brahmanhood: 
Borne on our aged shoulders, see, 
Our fires of worship go with thee. 
Bright canopies that lend their shade 
In Vajapeya 319 rites displayed, 
In plenteous store are borne behind 
Like cloudlets in the autumn wind. 
No shelter from the sun hast thou, 
And, lest his fury burn thy brow, 
These sacrificial shades we bear 

319 An important sacrifice at which seventeen victims were immolated. 

Canto XLV. The Tamasa. 513 

Shall aid thee in the noontide glare. 

Our hearts, who ever loved to pore 

On sacred text and Vedic lore, 

Now all to thee, beloved, turn, 

And for a life in forests yearn. 

Deep in our aged bosoms lies 

The Vedas' lore, the wealth we prize, 

There still, like wives at home, shall dwell, 

Whose love and truth protect them well. [148] 

To follow thee our hearts are bent; 

We need not plan or argument. 

All else in duty's law we slight, 

For following thee is following right. 

O noble Prince, retrace thy way: 

O, hear us, Rama, as we lay, 

With many tears and many prayers, 

Our aged heads and swan-white hairs 

Low in the dust before thy feet; 

O, hear us, Rama, we entreat. 

Full many of these who with thee run, 

Their sacred rites had just begun. 

Unfinished yet those rites remain; 

But finished if thou turn again. 

All rooted life and things that move 

To thee their deep affection prove. 

To them, when warmed by love, they glow 

And sue to thee, some favour show, 

Each lowly bush, each towering tree 

Would follow too for love of thee. 

Bound by its root it must remain; 

But — all it can — its boughs complain, 

As when the wild wind rushes by 

It tells its woe in groan and sigh. 

No more through air the gay birds flit, 

514 The Ramayana 

But, foodless, melancholy sit 

Together on the branch and call 

To thee whose kind heart feels for all." 

As wailed the aged Brahmans, bent 
To turn him back, with wild lament, 
Seemed Tamasa herself to aid, 
Checking his progress, as they prayed. 
Sumantra from the chariot freed 
With ready hand each weary steed; 
He groomed them with the utmost heed, 

Their limbs he bathed and dried, 
Then led them forth to drink and feed 
At pleasure in the grassy mead 
That fringed the river side. 

Canto XLVI. The Halt. 

When Rama, chief of Raghu's race, 
Arrived at that delightful place, 
He looked on Sita first, and then 
To Lakshman spake the lord of men: 
"Now first the shades of night descend 
Since to the wilds our steps we bend. 
Joy to thee, brother! do not grieve 
For our dear home and all we leave. 
The woods unpeopled seem to weep 
Around us, as their tenants creep 
Or fly to lair and den and nest, 
Both bird and beast, to seek their rest. 

Canto XLVI. The Halt. 515 

Methinks Ayodhya's royal town 
Where dwells my sire of high renown, 
With all her men and dames to-night 
Will mourn us vanished from their sight. 
For, by his virtues won, they cling 
In fond affection to their king, 
And thee and me, O brave and true, 
And Bharat and Satrughna too. 
I for my sire and mother feel 
Deep sorrow o'er my bosom steal, 
Lest mourning us, oppressed with fears, 
They blind their eyes with endless tears. 
Yet Bharat's duteous love will show 
Sweet comfort in their hours of woe, 
And with kind words their hearts sustain, 
Suggesting duty, bliss, and gain. 
I mourn my parents now no more: 
I count dear Bharat's virtues o'er, 
And his kind love and care dispel 
The doubts I had, and all is well. 
And thou thy duty wouldst not shun, 
And, following me, hast nobly done; 
Else, bravest, I should need a band 
Around my wife as guard to stand. 
On this first night, my thirst to slake, 
Some water only will I take: 
Thus, brother, thus my will decides, 
Though varied store the wood provides." 

Thus having said to Lakshman, he 
Addressed in turn Sumantra: "Be 
Most diligent to-night, my friend, 
And with due care thy horses tend." 
The sun had set: Sumantra tied 

516 The Ramayana 

His noble horses side by side, 

Gave store of grass with liberal hand, 

And rested near them on the strand. 

Each paid the holy evening rite, 

And when around them fell the night, 

The charioteer, with Lakshman's aid, 

A lowly bed for Rama laid. 

To Lakshman Rama bade adieu, 

And then by Sita's side he threw 

His limbs upon the leafy bed 

Their care upon the bank had spread. 

When Lakshman saw the couple slept, 

Still on the strand his watch he kept, 

Still with Sumantra there conversed, 

And Rama's varied gifts rehearsed. 

All night he watched, nor sought repose, 

Till on the earth the sun arose: 

With him Sumantra stayed awake, 

And still of Rama's virtues spake. 

Thus, near the river's grassy shore 

Which herds unnumbered wandered o'er, 

Repose, untroubled, Rama found, 

And all the people lay around. 

The glorious hero left his bed, 

Looked on the sleeping crowd, and said 

To Lakshman, whom each lucky line 

Marked out for bliss with surest sign: 

"O brother Lakshman, look on these 
Reclining at the roots of trees; 
All care of house and home resigned, 
Caring for us with heart and mind, 
[149] These people of the city yearn 

Canto XLVI. The Halt. 517 

To see us to our home return: 

To quit their lives will they consent, 

But never leave their firm intent. 

Come, while they all unconscious sleep, 

Let us upon the chariot leap, 

And swiftly on our journey speed 

Where naught our progress may impede, 

That these fond citizens who roam 

Far from Ikshvaku's ancient home, 

No more may sleep 'neath bush and tree, 

Following still for love of me. 

A prince with tender care should heal 

The self-brought woes his people feel, 

And never let his subjects share 

The burthen he is forced to bear." 

Then Lakshman to the chief replied, 
Who stood like Justice by his side: 
"Thy rede, O sage, I well commend: 
Without delay the car ascend." 
Then Rama to Sumantra spoke: 
"Thy rapid steeds, I pray thee, yoke. 
Hence to the forest will I go: 
Away, my lord, and be not slow." 

Sumantra, urged to utmost speed, 
Yoked to the car each generous steed, 
And then, with hand to hand applied, 
He came before the chief and cried: 
"Hail, Prince, whom mighty arms adorn, 
Hail, bravest of the chariot-borne! 
With Sita and thy brother thou 
Mayst mount: the car is ready now." 

518 The Ramayana 

The hero clomb the car with haste: 
His bow and gear within were placed, 
And quick the eddying flood he passed 
Of Tamasa whose waves run fast. 
Soon as he touched the farther side, 
That strong-armed hero, glorified, 
He found a road both wide and clear, 
Where e'en the timid naught could fear. 
Then, that the crowd might be misled, 
Thus Rama to Sumantra said: 
"Speed north a while, then hasten back, 
Returning in thy former track, 
That so the people may not learn 
The course I follow: drive and turn." 

Sumantra, at the chief's behest, 
Quick to the task himself addressed; 
Then near to Rama came, and showed 
The chariot ready for the road. 
With Sita, then, the princely two, 
Who o'er the line of Raghu threw 
A glory ever bright and new, 

Upon the chariot stood. 
Sumantra fast and faster drove 
His horses, who in fleetness strove 
Still onward to the distant grove, 

The hermit-haunted wood. 

Canto XLVII. The Citizens' Return. 

Canto XLVII. The Citizens' Return. 519 

The people, when the morn shone fair, 

Arose to find no Rama there. 

Then fear and numbing grief subdued 

The senses of the multitude. 

The woe-born tears were running fast 

As all around their eyes they cast, 

And sadly looked, but found no trace 

Of Rama, searching every place. 

Bereft of Rama good and wise, 

With drooping cheer and weeping eyes, 

Each woe-distracted sage gave vent 

To sorrow in his wild lament: 

"Woe worth the sleep that stole our sense 

With its beguiling influence, 

That now we look in vain for him 

Of the broad chest and stalwart limb ! 

How could the strong-armed hero, thus 

Deceiving all, abandon us? 

His people so devoted see, 

Yet to the woods, a hermit, flee? 

How can he, wont our hearts to cheer, 

As a fond sire his children dear, — 

How can the pride of Raghu's race 

Fly from us to some desert place! 

Here let us all for death prepare, 

Or on the last great journey fare; 320 

Of Rama our dear lord bereft, 

What profit in our lives is left? 

Huge trunks of trees around us lie, 

With roots and branches sere and dry, 

Come let us set these logs on fire 

And throw our bodies on the pyre. 

320 The great pilgrimage to the Himalayas, in order to die there. 

520 The Ramayana 

What shall we speak? How can we say 
We followed Rama on his way, 
The mighty chief whose arm is strong, 
Who sweetly speaks, who thinks no wrong? 
Ayodhya's town with sorrow dumb, 
Without our lord will see us come, 
And hopeless misery will strike 
Elder, and child, and dame alike. 
Forth with that peerless chief we came, 
Whose mighty heart is aye the same: 
How, reft of him we love, shall we 
Returning dare that town to see?" 

Complaining thus with varied cry 
They tossed their aged arms on high, 
And their sad hearts with grief were wrung, 
Like cows who sorrow for their young. 
A while they followed on the road 
Which traces of his chariot showed, 
But when at length those traces failed, 
[150] A deep despair their hearts assailed. 

The chariot marks no more discerned, 
The hopeless sages backward turned: 
"Ah, what is this? What can we more? 
Fate stops the way, and all is o'er." 
With wearied hearts, in grief and shame 
They took the road by which they came, 
And reached Ayodhya's city, where 
From side to side was naught but care. 
With troubled spirits quite cast down 
They looked upon the royal town, 
And from their eyes, oppressed with woe, 
Their tears again began to flow. 
Of Rama reft, the city wore 

Canto XLVIII. The Women's Lament. 521 

No look of beauty as before, 

Like a dull river or a lake 

By Garud robbed of every snake. 

Dark, dismal as the moonless sky, 

Or as a sea whose bed is dry, 

So sad, to every pleasure dead, 

They saw the town, disquieted. 

On to their houses, high and vast, 

Where stores of precious wealth were massed, 

The melancholy Brahmans passed, 

Their hearts with anguish cleft: 
Aloof from all, they came not near 
To stranger or to kinsman dear, 
Showing in faces blank and drear 

That not one joy was left. 

Canto XLVIII. The Women's Lament. 

When those who forth with Rama went 
Back to the town their steps had bent, 
It seemed that death had touched and chilled 
Those hearts which piercing sorrow filled. 
Each to his several mansion came, 
And girt by children and his dame, 
From his sad eyes the water shed 
That o'er his cheek in torrents spread. 
All joy was fled: oppressed with cares 
No bustling trader showed his wares. 
Each shop had lost its brilliant look, 
Each householder forbore to cook. 
No hand with joy its earnings told, 

522 The Ramayana 

None cared to win a wealth of gold, 
And scarce the youthful mother smiled 
To see her first, her new-born child. 
In every house a woman wailed, 
And her returning lord assailed 
With keen taunt piercing like the steel 
That bids the tusked monster kneel: 
"What now to them is wedded dame, 
What house and home and dearest aim, 
Or son, or bliss, or gathered store, 
Whose eyes on Rama look no more ! 
There is but one in all the earth, 
One man alone of real worth, 
Lakshman, who follows, true and good, 
Rama, with Sita, through the wood. 
Made holy for all time we deem 
Each pool and fountain, lake and stream, 
If great Kakutstha's son shall choose 
Their water for his bath to use. 
Each forest, dark with lovely trees, 
Shall yearn Kakutstha's son to please; 
Each mountain peak and woody hill, 
Each mighty flood and mazy rill, 
Each rocky height, each shady grove 
Where the blest feet of Rama rove, 
Shall gladly welcome with the best 
Of all they have their honoured guest. 
The trees that clustering blossoms bear, 
And bright-hued buds to gem their hair, 
The heart of Rama shall delight, 
And cheer him on the breezy height. 
For him the upland slopes will show 
The fairest roots and fruit that grow, 
And all their wealth before him fling 

Canto XLVIII. The Women's Lament. 523 

Ere the due hour of ripening. 

For him each earth-upholding hill 

Its crystal water shall distil, 

And all its floods shall be displayed 

In many a thousand-hued cascade. 

Where Rama stands is naught to fear, 

No danger comes if he be near; 

For all who live on him depend, 

The world's support, and lord, and friend. 

Ere in too distant wilds he stray, 

Let us to Rama speed away, 

For rich reward on those will wait 

Who serve a prince of soul so great. 

We will attend on Sita there; 

Be Raghu's son your special care." 

The city dames, with grief distressed, 

Thus once again their lords addressed: 

"Rama shall be your guard and guide, 

And Sita will for us provide. 

For who would care to linger here, 

Where all is sad and dark and drear? 

Who, mid the mourners, hope for bliss 

In a poor soulless town like this? 

If Queen Kaikeyi's treacherous sin, 

Our lord expelled, the kingdom win, 

We heed not sons or golden store, 

Our life itself we prize no more. 

If she, seduced by lust of sway, 

Her lord and son could cast away, 

Whom would she leave unharmed, the base 

Defiler of her royal race? 

We swear it by our children dear, 

We will not dwell as servants here; 

524 The Ramayana 

If Queen Kaikeyi live to reign, 
We will not in her realm remain. 
Bowed down by her oppressive hand, 
The helpless, lordless, godless land, 
Cursed for Kaikeyi's guilt will fall, 
[151] And swift destruction seize it all. 

For, Rama forced from home to fly, 
The king his sire will surely die, 
And when the king has breathed his last 
Ruin will doubtless follow fast. 
Sad, robbed of merits, drug the cup 
And drink the poisoned mixture up, 
Or share the exiled Rama's lot, 
Or seek some land that knows her not. 
No reason, but a false pretence 
Drove Rama, Sita, Lakshman hence, 
And we to Bharat have been given 
Like cattle to the shambles driven." 

While in each house the women, pained 
At loss of Rama, still complained, 
Sank to his rest the Lord of Day, 
And night through all the sky held sway. 
The fires of worship all were cold, 
No text was hummed, no tale was told, 
And shades of midnight gloom came down 
Enveloping the mournful town. 
Still, sick at heart, the women shed, 
As for a son or husband fled, 
For Rama tears, disquieted: 

No child was loved as he. 
And all Ayodhya, where the feast, 
Music, and song, and dance had ceased, 

And merriment and glee, 

Canto XLIX. The Crossing Of The Rivers. 525 

Where every merchant's store was closed 
That erst its glittering wares exposed, 
Was like a dried up sea. 

Canto XLIX. The Crossing Of The Rivers. 

Now Rama, ere the night was fled, 
O'er many a league of road had sped, 
Till, as his course he onward held, 
The morn the shades of night dispelled. 
The rites of holy dawn he paid, 
And all the country round surveyed. 
He saw, as still he hurried through 
With steeds which swift as arrows flew, 
Hamlets and groves with blossoms fair, 
And fields which showed the tillers' care, 
While from the clustered dwellings near 
The words of peasants reached his ear: 
"Fie on our lord the king, whose soul 
Is yielded up to love's control ! 
Fie on the vile Kaikeyi! Shame 
On that malicious sinful dame, 
Who, keenly bent on cruel deeds, 
No bounds of right and virtue heeds, 
But with her wicked art has sent 
So good a prince to banishment, 
Wise, tender-hearted, ruling well 
His senses, in the woods to dwell. 
Ah cruel king! his heart of steel 
For his own son no love could feel, 
Who with the sinless Rama parts, 

526 The Ramayana 

The darling of the people's hearts." 

These words he heard the peasants say, 
Who dwelt in hamlets by the way, 
And, lord of all the realm by right, 
Through Kosala pursued his flight. 
Through the auspicious flood, at last, 
Of Vedasruti's stream he passed, 
And onward to the place he sped 
By Saint Agastya tenanted. 
Still on for many an hour he hied, 
And crossed the stream whose cooling tide 
Rolls onward till she meets the sea, 
The herd-frequented Gomati. 321 
Borne by his rapid horses o'er, 
He reached that river's further shore. 
And Syandika's, whose swan-loved stream 
Resounded with the peacock's scream. 
Then as he journeyed on his road 
To his Videhan bride he showed 
The populous land which Manu old 
To King Ikshvaku gave to hold. 
The glorious prince, the lord of men 
Looked on the charioteer, and then 
Voiced like a wild swan, loud and clear, 
He spake these words and bade him hear: 
"When shall I, with returning feet 
My father and my mother meet? 
When shall I lead the hunt once more 
In bloomy woods on Sarju's shore? 
Most eagerly I long to ride 
Urging the chase on Sarju's side. 
For royal saints have seen no blame 

321 Known to Europeans as the Goomtee. 

Canto L. The Halt Under The Ingudi. 527 

In this, the monarch's matchless game." 

Thus speeding on, — no rest or stay, — 
Ikshvaku's son pursued his way. 
Oft his sweet voice the silence broke, 
And thus on varied themes he spoke. 

Canto L. The Halt Under The Ingudi. 

So through the wide and fair extent 

Of Kosala the hero went. 

Then toward Ayodhya back he gazed, 

And cried, with suppliant hands upraised: 

"Farewell, dear city, first in place, 

Protected by Kakutstha's race! 

And Gods, who in thy temples dwell, 

And keep thine ancient citadel! 

I from his debt my sire will free, 

Thy well-loved towers again will see, 

And, coming from my wild retreat, 

My mother and my father meet." 

Then burning grief inflamed his eye, 
As his right arm he raised on high, 
And, while hot tears his cheek bedewed, 
Addressed the mournful multitude: 
"By love and tender pity moved, 
Your love for me you well have proved; 
Now turn again with joy, and win 
Success in all your hands begin." 



322 A tree, commonly called Ingua. 

528 The Ramayana 

Before the high souled chief they bent, 
With circling steps around him went, 
And then with bitter wailing, they 
Departed each his several way. 
Like the great sun engulfed by night, 
The hero sped beyond their sight, 
While still the people mourned his fate 
And wept aloud disconsolate. 
The car-borne chieftain passed the bound 
Of Kosala's delightful ground, 
Where grain and riches bless the land, 
And people give with liberal hand: 
A lovely realm unvexed by fear, 
Where countless shrines and stakes 323 appear: 
Where mango-groves and gardens grow, 
And streams of pleasant water flow: 
Where dwells content a well-fed race, 
And countless kine the meadows grace: 
Filled with the voice of praise and prayer: 
Each hamlet worth a monarch's care. 
Before him three-pathed Ganga rolled 
Her heavenly waters bright and cold; 
O'er her pure breast no weeds were spread, 
Her banks were hermit-visited. 
The car-borne hero saw the tide 
That ran with eddies multiplied, 
And thus the charioteer addressed: 
"Here on the bank to-day we rest. 
Not distant from the river, see ! 
There grows a lofty Ingudi 
With blossoms thick on every spray: 
There rest we, charioteer, to-day. 

323 Sacrificial posts to which the victims were tied. 

Canto L. The Halt Under The Ingudi. 529 

I on the queen of floods will gaze, 
Whose holy stream has highest praise, 
Where deer, and bird, and glittering snake, 
God, Daitya, bard their pastime take." 

Sumantra, Lakshman gave assent, 
And with the steeds they thither went. 
When Rama reached the lovely tree, 
With Sita and with Lakshman, he 
Alighted from the car: with speed 
Sumantra loosed each weary steed. 
And, hand to hand in reverence laid, 
Stood near to Rama in the shade. 
Rama's dear friend, renowned by fame, 
Who of Nishada lineage came, 
Guha, the mighty chief, adored 
Through all the land as sovereign lord, 
Soon as he heard that prince renowned 
Was resting on Nishada ground, 
Begirt by counsellor and peer 
And many an honoured friend drew near. 
Soon as the monarch came in view, 
Rama and Lakshman toward him flew. 
Then Guha, at the sight distressed, 
His arms around the hero pressed, 
Laid both his hands upon his head 
Bowed to those lotus feet, and said: 
"O Rama, make thy wishes known, 
And be this kingdom as thine own. 
Who, mighty-armed, will ever see 
A guest so dear as thou to me?" 

530 The Ramayana 

He placed before him dainty fare 
Of every flavour, rich and rare, 
Brought forth the gift for honoured guest, 
And thus again the chief addressed: 
"Welcome, dear Prince, whose arms are strong; 
These lands and all to thee belong. 
Thy servants we, our lord art thou; 
Begin, good king, thine empire now. 
See, various food before thee placed, 
And cups to drink and sweets to taste 
For thee soft beds are hither borne, 
And for thy horses grass and corn." 

To Guha as he pressed and prayed, 
Thus Raghu's son his answer made: 
"Twas aye thy care my heart to please 
With honour, love, and courtesies, 
And friendship brings thee now to greet 
Thy guest thus humbly on thy feet." 

Again the hero spake, as round 
The king his shapely arms he wound: 
"Guha, I see that all is well 
With thee and those who with thee dwell; 
That health and bliss and wealth attend 
Thy realm, thyself, and every friend. 
But all these friendly gifts of thine, 
Bound to refuse, I must decline. 
Grass, bark, and hide my only wear, 
And woodland roots and fruit my fare, 
On duty all my heart is set; 
I seek the woods, an anchoret. 
A little grass and corn to feed 
The horses — this is all I need. 

Canto L. The Halt Under The Ingudi. 53 1 

So by this favour, King, alone 

Shall honour due to me be shown. 

For these good steeds who brought me here 

Are to my sire supremely dear; 

And kind attention paid to these 

Will honour me and highly please." 

Then Guha quickly bade his train 
Give water to the steeds, and grain. 
And Rama, ere the night grew dark, 
Paid evening rites in dress of bark, 
And tasted water, on the strand, 
Drawn from the stream by Lakshman's hand. 
And Lakshman with observance meet 

Bathed his beloved brother's feet, [153] 

Who rested with his Maithil spouse: 
Then sat him down 'neath distant boughs. 
And Guha with his bow sat near 
To Lakshman and the charioteer, 
And with the prince conversing kept 
His faithful watch while Rama slept. 
As Dasaratha's glorious heir, 
Of lofty soul and wisdom rare, 
Reclining with his Sita there 

Beside the river lay — 
He who no troubles e'er had seen, 
Whose life a life of bliss had been — 
That night beneath the branches green 

Passed pleasantly away. 

532 The Ramayana 

Canto LI. Lakshman's Lament. 

As Lakshman still his vigil held 
By unaffected love impelled, 
Guha, whose heart the sight distressed, 
With words like these the prince addressed: 
"Beloved youth, this pleasant bed 
Was brought for thee, for thee is spread; 
On this, my Prince, thine eyelids close, 
And heal fatigue with sweet repose. 
My men are all to labour trained, 
But hardship thou hast ne'er sustained. 
All we this night our watch will keep 
And guard Kakutstha's son asleep. 
In all the world there breathes not one 
More dear to me than Raghu's son. 
The words I speak, heroic youth, 
Are true: I swear it by my truth. 
Through his dear grace supreme renown 
Will, so I trust, my wishes crown. 
So shall my life rich store obtain 
Of merit, blest with joy and gain. 
While Raghu's son and Sita lie 
Entranced in happy slumber, I 
Will, with my trusty bow in hand, 
Guard my dear friend with all my band. 
To me, who oft these forests range, 
Is naught therein or new or strange. 
We could with equal might oppose 
A four-fold army led by foes." 

Canto LI. Lakshman's Lament. 533 

Then royal Lakshman made reply: 
"With thee to stand as guardian nigh, 
Whose faithful soul regards the right, 
Fearless we well might rest to-night. 
But how, when Rama lays his head 
With SM on his lowly bed, — 
How can I sleep? how can I care 
For life, or aught that's bright and fair? 
Behold the conquering chief, whose might 
Is match for Gods and fiends in fight; 
With Sita now he rests his head 
Asleep on grass beneath him spread. 
Won by devotion, text, and prayer, 
And many a rite performed with care, 
Chief of our father's sons he shines 
Well marked, like him, with favouring signs. 
Brief, brief the monarch's life will be 
Now his dear son is forced to flee; 
And quickly will the widowed state 
Mourn for her lord disconsolate. 
Each mourner there has wept her fill; 
The cries of anguish now are still: 
In the king's hall each dame, o'ercome 
With weariness of woe is dumb. 
This first sad night of grief, I ween, 
Will do to death each sorrowing queen: 
Scarce is Kausalya left alive; 
My mother, too, can scarce survive. 
If when her heart is fain to break, 
She lingers for Satrughna's sake, 
Kausalya, mother of the chief, 
Must sink beneath the chilling grief. 
That town which countless thousands fill, 
Whose hearts with love of Rama thrill, — 

534 The Ramayana 

The world's delight, so rich and fair, — 
Grieved for the king, his death will share. 
The hopes he fondly cherished, crossed 
Ayodhya's throne to Rama lost, — 
With mournful cries, Too late, too late! 
The king my sire will meet his fate. 
And when my sire has passed away, 
Most happy in their lot are they, 
Allowed, with every pious care, 
Part in his funeral rites to bear. 
And O, may we with joy at last, — 
These years of forest exile past, — 
Turn to Ayodhya's town to dwell 
With him who keeps his promise well!" 

While thus the hero mighty-souled, 
In wild lament his sorrow told, 
Faint with the load that on him lay, 
The hours of darkness passed away. 
As thus the prince, impelled by zeal 
For his loved brother, prompt to feel 
Strong yearnings for the people's weal, 

His words of truth outspake, 
King Guha grieved to see his woe, 
Heart-stricken, gave his tears to flow, 
Tormented by the common blow, 

Sad, as a wounded snake. 

Canto LII. The Crossing Of Ganga. 

Canto LII. The Crossing Of Ganga. 535 

Soon as the shades of night had fled, 

Uprising from his lowly bed, 

Rama the famous, broad of chest, 

His brother Lakshman thus addressed: 

"Now swift upsprings the Lord of Light, 

And fled is venerable night. [154] 

That dark-winged bird the Koil now 

Is calling from the topmost bough, 

And sounding from the thicket nigh 

Is heard the peacock's early cry. 

Come, cross the flood that seeks the sea, 

The swiftly flowing Jahnavi." 324 

King Guha heard his speech, agreed, 
And called his minister with speed: 
"A boat," he cried, "swift, strong, and fair, 
With rudder, oars, and men, prepare, 
And place it ready by the shore 
To bear the pilgrims quickly o'er." 
Thus Guha spake: his followers all 
Bestirred them at their master's call; 
Then told the king that ready manned 
A gay boat waited near the strand. 
Then Guha, hand to hand applied, 
With reverence thus to Rama cried: 
"The boat is ready by the shore: 
How, tell me, can I aid thee more? 
O lord of men, it waits for thee 
To cross the flood that seeks the sea. 
O godlike keeper of thy vow, 
Embark: the boat is ready now." 

324 Daughter of Jahnu, a name of the Ganges. See p. 55. 

536 The Ramayana 

Then Rama, lord of glory high, 
Thus to King Guha made reply: 
"Thanks for thy gracious care, my lord: 
Now let the gear be placed on board." 
Each bow-armed chief, in mail encased, 
Bound sword and quiver to his waist, 
And then with Sita near them hied 
Down the broad river's shelving side. 
Then with raised palms the charioteer, 
In lowly reverence drawing near, 
Cried thus to Rama good and true: 
"Now what remains for me to do?" 

With his right hand, while answering 
The hero touched his friend: 

"Go back," he said, "and on the king 
With watchful care attend. 
Thus far, Sumantra, thou wast guide; 
Now to Ayodhya turn," he cried: 
"Hence seek we leaving steeds and car, 
On foot the wood that stretches far." 

Sumantra, when, with grieving heart, 
He heard the hero bid him part, 
Thus to the bravest of the brave, 
Ikshvaku's son, his answer gave: 
"In all the world men tell of naught, 
To match thy deed, by heroes wrought — 
Thus with thy brother and thy wife 
Thrall-like to lead a forest life. 
No meet reward of fruit repays 
Thy holy lore, thy saintlike days, 
Thy tender soul, thy love of truth, 
If woe like this afflicts thy youth. 
Thou, roaming under forest boughs 

Canto LII. The Crossing Of Ganga. 537 

With thy dear brother and thy spouse 
Shalt richer meed of glory gain 
Than if three worlds confessed thy reign. 
Sad is our fate, O Rama: we, 
Abandoned and repelled by thee, 
Must serve as thralls Kaikeyi's will, 
Imperious, wicked, born to ill." 

Thus cried the faithful charioteer, 
As Raghu's son, in rede his peer, 
Was fast departing on his road, — 
And long his tears of anguish flowed. 
But Rama, when those tears were dried 
His lips with water purified, 
And in soft accents, sweet and clear, 
Again addressed the charioteer: 
"I find no heart, my friend, like thine, 
So faithful to Ikshvaku's line. 
Still first in view this object keep, 
That ne'er for me my sire may weep. 
For he, the world's far-ruling king, 
Is old, and wild with sorrow's sting; 
With love's great burthen worn and weak: 
Deem this the cause that thus I speak 
Whate'er the high-souled king decrees 
His loved Kaikeyi's heart to please, 
Yea, be his order what it may, 
Without demur thou must obey, 
For this alone great monarchs reign, 
That ne'er a wish be formed in vain. 
Then, O Sumantra, well provide 
That by no check the king be tried: 
Nor let his heart in sorrow pine: 
This care, my faithful friend, be thine. 

538 The Ramayana 

The honoured king my father greet, 
And thus for me my words repeat 
To him whose senses are controlled, 
Untired till now by grief, and old; 
"I, Sita, Lakshman sorrow not, 
O Monarch, for our altered lot: 
The same to us, if here we roam, 
Or if Ayodhya be our home, 
The fourteen years will quickly fly, 
The happy hour will soon be nigh 
When thou, my lord, again shalt see 
Lakshman, the Maithil dame, and me." 
Thus having soothed, O charioteer, 
My father and my mother dear, 
Let all the queens my message learn, 
But to Kaikeyi chiefly turn. 
With loving blessings from the three, 
From Lakshman, Sita, and from me, 
My mother, Queen Kausalya, greet 
With reverence to her sacred feet. 
And add this prayer of mine: "O King; 
Send quickly forth and Bharat bring, 
And set him on the royal throne 
Which thy decree has made his own. 
When he upon the throne is placed, 
When thy fond arms are round him laced, 
Thine aged heart will cease to ache 
[155] With bitter pangs for Rama's sake." 

And say to Bharat: "See thou treat 
The queens with all observance meet: 
What care the king receives, the same 
Show thou alike to every dame. 
Obedience to thy father's will 
Who chooses thee the throne to fill, 

Canto LII. The Crossing Of Ganga. 539 

Will earn for thee a store of bliss 
Both in the world to come and this.' " 

Thus Rama bade Sumantra go 
With thoughtful care instructed so. 
Sumantra all his message heard, 
And spake again, by passion stirred: 
"O, should deep feeling mar in aught 
The speech by fond devotion taught, 
Forgive whate'er I wildly speak: 
My love is strong, my tongue is weak. 
How shall I, if deprived of thee, 
Return that mournful town to see: 
Where sick at heart the people are 
Because their Rama roams afar. 
Woe will be theirs too deep to brook 
When on the empty car they look, 
As when from hosts, whose chiefs are slain, 
One charioteer comes home again. 
This very day, I ween, is food 
Forsworn by all the multitude, 
Thinking that thou, with hosts to aid, 
Art dwelling in the wild wood's shade. 
The great despair, the shriek of woe 
They uttered when they saw thee go, 
Will, when I come with none beside, 
A hundred-fold be multiplied. 
How to Kausalya can I say: 
"O Queen, I took thy son away, 
And with thy brother left him well: 
Weep not for him; thy woe dispel?" 
So false a tale I cannot frame, 
Yet how speak truth and grieve the dame? 
How shall these horses, fleet and bold, 

540 The Ramayana 

Whom not a hand but mine can hold, 
Bear others, wont to whirl the car 
Wherein Ikshvaku's children are! 
Without thee, Prince, I cannot, no, 
I cannot to Ayodhya go. 
Then deign, O Rama, to relent, 
And let me share thy banishment. 
But if no prayers can move thy heart, 
If thou wilt quit me and depart, 
The flames shall end my car and me, 
Deserted thus and reft of thee. 
In the wild wood when foes are near, 
When dangers check thy vows austere, 
Borne in my car will I attend, 
All danger and all care to end. 
For thy dear sake I love the skill 
That guides the steed and curbs his will: 
And soon a forest life will be 
As pleasant, for my love of thee. 
And if these horses near thee dwell, 
And serve thee in the forest well, 
They, for their service, will not miss 
The due reward of highest bliss. 
Thine orders, as with thee I stray, 
Will I with heart and head obey, 
Prepared, for thee, without a sigh, 
To lose Ayodhya or the sky. 
As one defiled with hideous sin, 
I never more can pass within 
Ayodhya, city of our king, 
Unless beside me thee I bring. 
One wish is mine, I ask no more, 
That, when thy banishment is o'er 
I in my car may bear my lord, 

Canto LII. The Crossing Of Ganga. 541 

Triumphant, to his home restored. 
The fourteen years, if spent with thee, 
Will swift as light-winged moments flee; 
But the same years, without thee told, 
Were magnified a hundred-fold. 
Do not, kind lord, thy servant leave, 
Who to his master's son would cleave, 
And the same path with him pursue, 
Devoted, tender, just and true." 

Again, again Sumantra made 
His varied plaint, and wept and prayed. 
Him Raghu's son, whose tender breast 
Felt for his servants, thus addressed: 
"O faithful servant, well my heart 
Knows how attached and true thou art. 
Hear thou the words I speak, and know 
Why to the town I bid thee go. 
Soon as Kaikeyi, youngest queen, 
Thy coming to the town has seen, 
No doubt will then her mind oppress 
That Rama roams the wilderness. 
And so the dame, her heart content 
With proof of Rama's banishment, 
Will doubt the virtuous king no more 
As faithless to the oath he swore. 
Chief of my cares is this, that she, 
Youngest amid the queens, may see 
Bharat her son securely reign 
O'er rich Ayodhya's wide domain. 
For mine and for the monarch's sake 
Do thou thy journey homeward take, 
And, as I bade, repeat each word 
That from my lips thou here hast heard." 

542 The Ramayana 

Thus spake the prince, and strove to cheer 
The sad heart of the charioteer, 
And then to royal Guha said 
These words most wise and spirited: 
"Guha, dear friend, it is not meet 
That people throng my calm retreat: 
For I must live a strict recluse, 
And mould my life by hermits' use. 
I now the ancient rule accept 
By good ascetics gladly kept. 
I go: bring fig-tree juice that I 
In matted coils my hair may tie." 

Quick Guha hastened to produce, 
For the king's son, that sacred juice. 
Then Rama of his long locks made, 
[156] And Lakshman's too, the hermit braid. 

And the two royal brothers there 
With coats of bark and matted hair, 
Transformed in lovely likeness stood 
To hermit saints who love the wood. 
So Rama, with his brother bold, 
A pious anchorite enrolled, 
Obeyed the vow which hermits take, 
And to his friend, King Guha, spake: 
"May people, treasure, army share, 
And fenced forts, thy constant care: 
Attend to all: supremely hard 
The sovereign's task, to watch and guard." 

Canto LII. The Crossing Of Ganga. 543 

Ikshvaku's son, the good and brave, 
This last farewell to Guha gave, 
And then, with Lakshman and his bride, 
Determined, on his way he hied. 
Soon as he viewed, upon the shore, 
The bark prepared to waft them o'er 
Impetuous Ganga's rolling tide, 
To Lakshman thus the chieftain cried: 
"Brother, embark; thy hand extend, 
Thy gentle aid to Sita lend: 
With care her trembling footsteps guide, 
And place the lady by thy side." 
When Lakshman heard, prepared to aid, 
His brother's words he swift obeyed. 
Within the bark he placed the dame, 
Then to her side the hero came. 
Next Lakshman's elder brother, lord 
Of brightest glory, when on board, 
Breathing a prayer for blessings, meet 
For priest or warrior to repeat, 
Then he and car-borne Lakshman bent, 
Well-pleased, their heads, most reverent, 
Their hands, with Sita, having dipped, 
As Scripture bids, and water sipped, 
Farewell to wise Sumantra said, 
And Guha, with the train he led. 
So Rama took, on board, his stand, 
And urged the vessel from the land. 
Then swift by vigorous arms impelled 
Her onward course the vessel held, 
And guided by the helmsman through 
The dashing waves of Ganga flew. 
Half way across the flood they came, 
When Sita, free from spot and blame, 

544 The Ramayana 

Her reverent hands together pressed, 

The Goddess of the stream addressed: 

"May the great chieftain here who springs 

From Dasaratha, best of kings, 

Protected by thy care, fulfil 

His prudent father's royal will. 

When in the forest he has spent 

His fourteen years of banishment, 

With his dear brother and with me 

His home again my lord shall see. 

Returning on that blissful day, 

I will to thee mine offerings pay, 

Dear Queen, whose waters gently flow, 

Who canst all blessed gifts bestow. 

For, three-pathed Queen, though wandering here, 

Thy waves descend from Brahma's sphere, 

Spouse of the God o'er floods supreme, 

Though rolling here thy glorious stream. 

To thee, fair Queen, my head shall bend, 

To thee shall hymns of praise ascend, 

When my brave lord shall turn again, 

And, joyful, o'er his kingdom reign. 

To win thy grace, O Queen divine, 

A hundred thousand fairest kine, 

And precious robes and finest meal 

Among the Brahmans will I deal. 

A hundred jars of wine shall flow, 

When to my home, O Queen, I go; 

With these, and flesh, and corn, and rice, 

Will I, delighted, sacrifice. 

Each hallowed spot, each holy shrine 

That stands on these fair shores of thine, 

Each fane and altar on thy banks 

Shall share my offerings and thanks. 

Canto LII. The Crossing Of Ganga. 545 

With me and Lakshman, free from harm, 
May he the blameless, strong of arm, 
Reseek Ayodhya from the wild, 
O blameless Lady undefiled!" 

As, praying for her husband's sake, 
The faultless dame to Ganga spake, 
To the right bank the vessel flew 
With her whose heart was right and true. 
Soon as the bark had crossed the wave, 
The lion leader of the brave, 
Leaving the vessel on the strand, 
With wife and brother leapt to land. 
Then Rama thus the prince addressed 
Who filled with joy Sumitra's breast: 
"Be thine alike to guard and aid 
In peopled spot, in lonely shade. 
Do thou, Sumitra's son, precede: 
Let Sita walk where thou shalt lead. 
Behind you both my place shall be, 
To guard the Maithil dame and thee. 
For she, to woe a stranger yet, 
No toil or grief till now has met; 
The fair Videhan will assay 
The pains of forest life to-day. 
To-day her tender feet must tread 
Rough rocky wilds around her spread: 
No tilth is there, no gardens grow, 
No crowding people come and go." 

546 The Ramayana 

The hero ceased: and Lakshman led 
Obedient to the words he said: 
And Sita followed him, and then 
Came Raghu's pride, the lord of men. 
With Sita walking o'er the sand 
They sought the forest, bow in hand, 
But still their lingering glances threw 
Where yet Sumantra stood in view. 
Sumantra, when his watchful eye 
The royal youths no more could spy, 
Turned from the spot whereon he stood 
[157] Homeward with Guha from the wood. 

Still on the brothers forced their way 
Where sweet birds sang on every spray, 
Though scarce the eye a path could find 
Mid flowering trees where creepers twined. 
Far on the princely brothers pressed, 
And stayed their feet at length to rest 
Beneath a fig tree's mighty shade 
With countless pendent shoots displayed. 
Reclining there a while at ease, 
They saw, not far, beneath fair trees 
A lake with many a lotus bright 
That bore the name of Lovely Sight. 
Rama his wife's attention drew, 
And Lakshman's, to the charming view: 
"Look, brother, look how fair the flood 
Glows with the lotus, flower and bud!" 

They drank the water fresh and clear, 
And with their shafts they slew a deer. 
A fire of boughs they made in haste, 
And in the flame the meat they placed. 
So Raghu's sons with Sita shared 

Canto LIII. Rama's Lament. 547 

The hunter's meal their hands prepared, 
Then counselled that the spreading tree 
Their shelter and their home should be. 

Canto LIII. Rama's Lament. 

When evening rites were duly paid, 
Reclined beneath the leafy shade, 
To Lakshman thus spake Rama, best 
Of those who glad a people's breast: 
"Now the first night has closed the day 
That saw us from our country stray, 
And parted from the charioteer; 
Yet grieve not thou, my brother dear. 
Henceforth by night, when others sleep, 
Must we our careful vigil keep, 
Watching for Sita's welfare thus, 
For her dear life depends on us. 
Bring me the leaves that lie around, 
And spread them here upon the ground, 
That we on lowly beds may lie, 
And let in talk the night go by." 

548 The Ramayana 

So on the ground with leaves o'erspread, 
He who should press a royal bed, 
Rama with Lakshman thus conversed, 
And many a pleasant tale rehearsed: 
"This night the king," he cried, "alas! 
In broken sleep will sadly pass. 
Kaikeyi now content should be, 
For mistress of her wish is she. 
So fiercely she for empire yearns, 
That when her Bharat home returns, 
She in her greed, may even bring 
Destruction on our lord the king. 
What can he do, in feeble eld, 
Reft of all aid and me expelled, 
His soul enslaved by love, a thrall 
Obedient to Kaikeyi's call? 
As thus I muse upon his woe 
And all his wisdoms overthrow, 
Love is, methinks, of greater might 
To stir the heart than gain and right. 
For who, in wisdom's lore untaught, 
Could by a beauty's prayer be bought 
To quit his own obedient son, 
Who loves him, as my sire has done! 
Bharat, Kaikeyi's child, alone 
Will, with his wife, enjoy the throne, 
And blissfully his rule maintain 
O'er happy Kosala's domain. 
To Bharat's single lot will fall 
The kingdom and the power and all, 
When fails the king from length of days, 
And Rama in the forest strays. 
Whoe'er, neglecting right and gain, 
Lets conquering love his soul enchain, 

Canto LIII. Rama's Lament. 549 

To him, like Dasaratha's lot, 
Comes woe with feet that tarry not. 
Methinks at last the royal dame, 
Dear Lakshman, has secured her aim, 
To see at once her husband dead, 
Her son enthroned, and Rama fled. 
Ah me! I fear, lest borne away 
By frenzy of success, she slay 
Kausalya, through her wicked hate 
Of me, bereft, disconsolate; 
Or her who aye for me has striven 
Sumitra, to devotion given. 
Hence, Lakshman, to Ayodhya speed, 
Returning in the hour of need. 
With Sita I my steps will bend 
Where Dandak's mighty woods extend. 
No guardian has Kausalya now: 
O, be her friend and guardian thou. 
Strong hate may vile Kaikeyi lead 
To many a base unrighteous deed, 
Treading my mother 'neath her feet 
When Bharat holds the royal seat. 
Sure in some antenatal time 
Were children, by Kausalya's crime, 
Torn from their mothers' arms away, 
And hence she mourns this evil day. 
She for her child no toil would spare 
Tending me long with pain and care; 
Now in the hour of fruitage she 
Has lost that son, ah, woe is me. 
O Lakshman, may no matron e'er 
A son so doomed to sorrow bear 
As I, my mother's heart who rend 
With anguish that can never end. 

550 The Ramayana 

The Sarika, 325 methinks, possessed 
More love than glows in Rama's breast. 
Who, as the tale is told to us, 
[158] Addressed the stricken parrot thus: 

"Parrot, the capturer's talons tear, 
While yet alone thou flutterest there, 
Before his mouth has closed on me:" 
So cried the bird, herself to free. 
Reft of her son, in childless woe, 
My mother's tears for ever flow: 
Ill-fated, doomed with grief to strive, 
What aid can she from me derive? 
Pressed down by care, she cannot rise 
From sorrow's flood wherein she lies. 
In righteous wrath my single arm 
Could, with my bow, protect from harm 
Ayodhya's town and all the earth: 
But what is hero prowess worth? 
Lest breaking duty's law I sin, 
And lose the heaven I strive to win, 
The forest life today I choose, 
And kingly state and power refuse." 

Thus mourning in that lonely spot 
The troubled chief bewailed his lot, 
And filled with tears, his eyes ran o'er; 
Then silent sat, and spake no more. 
To him, when ceased his loud lament, 
Like fire whose brilliant might is spent, 
Or the great sea when sleeps the wave, 
Thus Lakshman consolation gave: 
"Chief of the brave who bear the bow, 
E'en now Ayodhya, sunk in woe, 

325 The Maind or Gracula religiosa, a favourite cage-bird, easily taught to talk. 

Canto LIV. Bharadvaja's Hermitage. 551 

By thy departure reft of light 
Is gloomy as the moonless night. 
Unfit it seems that thou, O chief, 
Shouldst so afflict thy soul with grief, 
So with thou Sita's heart consign 
To deep despair as well as mine. 
Not I, O Raghu's son, nor she 
Could live one hour deprived of thee: 
We were, without thine arm to save, 
Like fish deserted by the wave. 
Although my mother dear to meet, 
Satrughna, and the king, were sweet, 
On them, or heaven, to feed mine eye 
Were nothing, if thou wert not by." 

Sitting at ease, their glances fell 
Upon the beds, constructed well, 
And there the sons of virtue laid 
Their limbs beneath the fig tree's shade. 

Canto LIV. Bharadvaja's Hermitage. 

So there that night the heroes spent 
Under the boughs that o'er them bent, 
And when the sun his glory spread, 
Upstarting, from the place they sped. 
On to that spot they made their way, 
Through the dense wood that round them lay, 
Where Yamuna's 326 swift waters glide 
To blend with Ganga's holy tide. 

552 The Ramayana 

Charmed with the prospect ever new 
The glorious heroes wandered through 
Full many a spot of pleasant ground, 
Rejoicing as they gazed around, 
With eager eye and heart at ease, 
On countless sorts of flowery trees. 
And now the day was half-way sped 
When thus to Lakshman Rama said: 
"There, there, dear brother, turn thine eyes; 
See near Prayag 327 that smoke arise: 
The banner of our Lord of Flames 
The dwelling of some saint proclaims. 
Near to the place our steps we bend 
Where Yamuna and Ganga blend. 
I hear and mark the deafening roar 
When chafing floods together pour. 
See, near us on the ground are left 
Dry logs, by labouring woodmen cleft, 
And the tall trees, that blossom near 
Saint Bharadvaja's home, appear." 

The bow-armed princes onward passed, 
And as the sun was sinking fast 
They reached the hermit's dwelling, set 
Near where the rushing waters met. 
The presence of the warrior scared 
The deer and birds as on he fared, 
And struck them with unwonted awe: 
Then Bharadvaja's cot they saw. 
The high-souled hermit soon they found 
Girt by his dear disciples round: 
Calm saint, whose vows had well been wrought, 
Whose fervent rites keen sight had bought. 

Canto LIV. Bharadvaja's Hermitage. 553 

Duly had flames of worship blazed 
When Rama on the hermit gazed: 
His suppliant hands the hero raised, 
Drew nearer to the holy man 
With his companions, and began, 
Declaring both his name and race 
And why they sought that distant place: 
"Saint, Dasaratha's children we, 
Rama and Lakshman, come to thee. 
This my good wife from Janak springs, 
The best of fair Videha's kings; 
Through lonely wilds, a faultless dame, 
To this pure grove with me she came. 
My younger brother follows still 
Me banished by my father's will: 
Sumitra's son, bound by a vow, — 
He roams the wood beside me now. 
Sent by my father forth to rove, 
We seek, O Saint, some holy grove, 
Where lives of hermits we may lead, 
And upon fruits and berries feed." 

When Bharadvaja, prudent-souled, 
Had heard the prince his tale unfold, 
Water he bade them bring, a bull, 

And honour-gifts in dishes full, [159] 

And drink and food of varied taste, 
Berries and roots, before him placed, 
And then the great ascetic showed 
A cottage for the guests' abode. 
The saint these honours gladly paid 
To Rama who had thither strayed, 
Then compassed sat by birds and deer 
And many a hermit resting near. 

554 The Ramayana 

The prince received the service kind, 
And sat him down rejoiced in mind. 
Then Bharadvaja silence broke, 
And thus the words of duty spoke: 
"Kakutstha's royal son, that thou 
Hadst sought this grove I knew ere now. 
Mine ears have heard thy story, sent 
Without a sin to banishment. 
Behold, O Prince, this ample space 
Near where the mingling floods embrace, 
Holy, and beautiful, and clear: 
Dwell with us, and be happy here." 

By Bharadvaja thus addressed, 
Rama whose kind and tender breast 
All living things would bless and save, 
In gracious words his answer gave: 

"My honoured lord, this tranquil spot, 
Fair home of hermits, suits me not: 
For all the neighbouring people here 
Will seek us when they know me near: 
With eager wish to look on me, 
And the Videhan dame to see, 
A crowd of rustics will intrude 
Upon the holy solitude. 
Provide, O gracious lord, I pray, 
Some quiet home that lies away, 
Where my Videhan spouse may dwell 
Tasting the bliss deserved so well." 

Canto LIV. Bharadvaja's Hermitage. 555 

The hermit heard the prayer he made: 
A while in earnest thought he stayed, 
And then in words like these expressed 
His answer to the chiefs request: 
"Ten leagues away there stands a hill 
Where thou mayst live, if such thy will: 
A holy mount, exceeding fair; 
Great saints have made their dwelling there: 
There great Langiirs 328 in thousands play, 
And bears amid the thickets stray; 
Wide-known by Chitrakuta's name, 
It rivals Gandhamadan's 329 fame. 
Long as the man that hill who seeks 
Gazes upon its sacred peaks, 
To holy things his soul he gives 
And pure from thought of evil lives. 
There, while a hundred autumns fled, 
Has many a saint with hoary head 
Spent his pure life, and won the prize, 
By deep devotion, in the skies: 
Best home, I ween, if such retreat, 
Far from the ways of men, be sweet: 
Or let thy years of exile flee 
Here in this hermitage with me." 

Thus Bharadvaja spake, and trained 
In lore of duty, entertained 
The princes and the dame, and pressed 
His friendly gifts on every guest. 

328 The Langiir is a large monkey. 

556 The Ramayana 

Thus to Prayag the hero went, 
Thus saw the saint preeminent, 
And varied speeches heard and said: 
Then holy night o'er heaven was spread. 
And Rama took, by toil oppressed, 
With Sita and his brother, rest; 
And so the night, with sweet content, 
In Bharadvaja's grove was spent. 
But when the dawn dispelled the night, 
Rama approached the anchorite, 
And thus addressed the holy sire 
Whose glory shone like kindled fire: 
"Well have we spent, O truthful Sage, 
The night within thy hermitage: 
Now let my lord his guests permit 
For their new home his grove to quit." 

Then, as he saw the morning break, 
In answer Bharadvaja spake: 
"Go forth to Chitrakuta's hill, 
Where berries grow, and sweets distil: 
Full well, I deem, that home will suit 
Thee, Rama, strong and resolute. 
Go forth, and Chitrakuta seek, 
Famed mountain of the Varied Peak. 
In the wild woods that gird him round 
All creatures of the chase are found: 
Thou in the glades shalt see appear 
Vast herds of elephants and deer. 
With Sita there shalt thou delight 
To gaze upon the woody height; 
There with expanding heart to look 
On river, table-land, and brook, 
And see the foaming torrent rave 

Canto LV. The Passage Of Yamuna. 557 

Impetuous from the mountain cave. 
Auspicious hill ! where all day long 
The lapwing's cry, the Koil's song 

Make all who listen gay: 
Where all is fresh and fair to see, 
Where elephants and deer roam free, 

There, as a hermit, stay." 

Canto LV. The Passage Of Yamuna. 

The princely tamers of their foes 

Thus passed the night in calm repose, 

Then to the hermit having bent 

With reverence, on their way they went. 

High favour Bharadvaja showed, 

And blessed them ready for the road. [160] 

With such fond looks as fathers throw 

On their own sons, before they go. 

Then spake the saint with glory bright 

To Rama peerless in his might: 

"First, lords of men, direct your feet 

Where Yamuna and Ganga meet; 

Then to the swift Kalindi 330 go, 

Whose westward waves to Ganga flow. 

When thou shalt see her lovely shore 

Worn by their feet who hasten o'er, 

Then, Raghu's son, a raft prepare, 

And cross the Sun born river there. 

Upon her farther bank a tree, 

330 Another name of the Jumna, daughter of the Sun. 

558 The Ramayana 

Near to the landing wilt thou see. 
The blessed source of varied gifts, 
There her green boughs that Fig-tree lifts: 
A tree where countless birds abide, 
By Syama's name known far and wide. 
Sita, revere that holy shade: 
There be thy prayers for blessing prayed. 
Thence for a league your way pursue, 
And a dark wood shall meet your view, 
Where tall bamboos their foliage show, 
The Gum-tree and the Jujube grow. 
To Chitrakuta have I oft 
Trodden that path so smooth and soft, 
Where burning woods no traveller scare, 
But all is pleasant, green, and fair." 

When thus the guests their road had learned, 
Back to his cot the hermit turned, 
And Rama, Lakshman, Sita paid 
Their reverent thanks for courteous aid. 
Thus Rama spake to Lakshman, when 
The saint had left the lords of men: 
"Great store of bliss in sooth is ours 
On whom his love the hermit showers." 
As each to other wisely talked, 
The lion lords together walked 
On to Kalindfs woody shore; 
And gentle Sita went before. 
They reached that flood, whose waters flee 
With rapid current to the sea; 
Their minds a while to thought they gave 
And counselled how to cross the wave. 
At length, with logs together laid, 
A mighty raft the brothers made. 

Canto LV. The Passage Of Yamuna. 559 

Then dry bamboos across were tied, 
And grass was spread from side to side. 
And the great hero Lakshman brought 
Cane and Rose- Apple boughs and wrought, 
Trimming the branches smooth and neat, 
For SM's use a pleasant seat. 
And Rama placed thereon his dame 
Touched with a momentary shame, 
Resembling in her glorious mien 
All-thought-surpassing Fortune's Queen. 
Then Rama hastened to dispose, 
Each in its place, the skins and bows, 
And by the fair Videhan laid 
The coats, the ornaments, and spade. 
When Sita thus was set on board, 
And all their gear was duly stored, 
The heroes each with vigorous hand, 
Pushed off the raft and left the land. 
When half its way the raft had made, 
Thus Sita to Kalindi prayed: 
"Goddess, whose flood I traverse now, 
Grant that my lord may keep his vow. 
For thee shall bleed a thousand kine, 
A hundred jars shall pour their wine, 
When Rama sees that town again 
Where old Ikshvaku's children reign." 

Thus to Kalindfs stream she sued 
And prayed in suppliant attitude. 
Then to the river's bank the dame, 
Fervent in supplication, came. 
They left the raft that brought them o'er, 
And the thick wood that clothed the shore, 
And to the Fig-tree Syama made 

560 The Ramayana 

Their way, so cool with verdant shade. 
Then Sita viewed that best of trees, 
And reverent spake in words like these: 
"Hail, hail, O mighty tree! Allow 
My husband to complete his vow; 
Let us returning, I entreat, 
Kausalya and Sumitra meet." 
Then with her hands together placed 
Around the tree she duly paced. 
When Rama saw his blameless spouse 
A suppliant under holy boughs, 
The gentle darling of his heart, 
He thus to Lakshman spake apart: 
"Brother, by thee our way be led; 
Let Sita close behind thee tread: 
I, best of men, will grasp my bow, 
And hindmost of the three will go. 
What fruits soe'er her fancy take, 
Or flowers half hidden in the brake, 
For Janak's child forget not thou 
To gather from the brake or bough." 

Thus on they fared. The tender dame 
Asked Rama, as they walked, the name 
Of every shrub that blossoms bore, 
Creeper, and tree unseen before: 
And Lakshman fetched, at Sita's prayer, 
Boughs of each tree with clusters fair. 
Then Janak's daughter joyed to see 
The sand-discoloured river flee, 
Where the glad cry of many a bird, 
The saras and the swan, was heard. 
A league the brothers travelled through 
The forest noble game they slew: 

Canto LVI. Chitrakiita 561 

Beneath the trees their meal they dressed 
And sat them down to eat and rest. 
A while in that delightful shade 
Where elephants unnumbered strayed, 

Where peacocks screamed and monkeys played, [161] 

They wandered with delight. 
Then by the river's side they found 
A pleasant spot of level ground, 
Where all was smooth and fair around, 
Their lodging for the night. 

Canto LVI. Chitrakuta 

Then Rama, when the morning rose, 
Called Lakshman gently from repose: 
"Awake, the pleasant voices hear 
Of forest birds that warble near. 
Scourge of thy foes, no longer stay; 
The hour is come to speed away." 

562 The Ramayana 

The slumbering prince unclosed his eyes 
When thus his brother bade him rise, 
Compelling, at the timely cry, 
Fatigue, and sleep, and rest to fly. 
The brothers rose and Sita too; 
Pure water from the stream they drew, 
Paid morning rites, then followed still 
The road to Chitrakuta's hill. 
Then Rama as he took the road 
With Lakshman, while the morning, glowed, 
To the Videhan lady cried, 
Sita the fair, the lotus-eyed: 
"Look round thee, dear; each flowery tree 
Touched with the fire of morning see: 
The Kinsuk, now the Frosts are fled, — 
How glorious with his wreaths of red! 
The Bel-trees see, so loved of men, 
Hanging their boughs in every glen. 
O'erburthened with their fruit and flowers: 
A plenteous store of food is ours. 
See, Lakshman, in the leafy trees, 
Where'er they make their home. 
Down hangs, the work of labouring bees 

The ponderous honeycomb. 
In the fair wood before us spread 

The startled wild-cock cries: 
Hark, where the flowers are soft to tread, 

The peacock's voice replies. 
Where elephants are roaming free, 
And sweet birds' songs are loud, 
The glorious Chitrakuta see: 
His peaks are in the cloud. 
On fair smooth ground he stands displayed, 
Begirt by many a tree: 

Canto LVI. Chitrakiita 563 

O brother, in that holy shade 
How happy shall we be!" 331 
Then Rama, Lakshman, Sita, each 
Spoke raising suppliant hands this speech 
To him, in woodland dwelling met, 
VaTmfki, ancient anchoret: 
"O Saint, this mountain takes the mind, 
With creepers, trees of every kind, 
With fruit and roots abounding thus, 
A pleasant life it offers us: 
Here for a while we fain would stay, 
And pass a season blithe and gay." 

Then the great saint, in duty trained, 
With honour gladly entertained: 
He gave his guests a welcome fair, 
And bade them sit and rest them there, 
Rama of mighty arm and chest 
His faithful Lakshman then addressed: 
"Brother, bring hither from the wood 
Selected timber strong and good, 
And build therewith a little cot; 
My heart rejoices in the spot 
That lies beneath the mountain's side, 
Remote, with water well supplied." 

"We have often looked on that green hill: it is the holiest spot of that sect 
of the Hindu faith who devote themselves to this incarnation of Vishnu. The 
whole neighbourhood is Rama's country. Every headland has some legend, 
every cavern is connected with his name; some of the wild fruits are still 
called Sitdphal, being the reputed food of the exile. Thousands and thousands 
annually visit the spot, and round the hill is a raised foot-path, on which the 
devotee, with naked feet, treads full of pious awe." Calcutta Review, Vol. 

564 The Ramayana 

Sumitra's son his words obeyed, 
Brought many a tree, and deftly made, 
With branches in the forest cut, 
As Rama bade, a leafy hut. 
Then Rama, when the cottage stood 
Fair, firmly built, and walled with wood, 
To Lakshman spake, whose eager mind 
To do his brother's will inclined: 
"Now, Lakshman as our cot is made, 
Must sacrifice be duly paid 
By us, for lengthened life who hope, 
With venison of the antelope. 
Away, O bright-eyed Lakshman, speed: 
Struck by thy bow a deer must bleed: 
As Scripture bids, we must not slight 
The duty that commands the rite." 

Lakshman, the chief whose arrows laid 
His foemen low, his word obeyed; 
And Rama thus again addressed 
The swift performer of his hest: 
"Prepare the venison thou hast shot, 
To sacrifice for this our cot. 
Haste, brother dear, for this the hour, 
And this the day of certain power." 
Then glorious Lakshman took the buck 
His arrow in the wood had struck; 
Bearing his mighty load he came, 
[162] And laid it in the kindled flame. 

Soon as he saw the meat was done, 
And that the juices ceased to run 
From the broiled carcass, Lakshman then 
Spoke thus to Rama best of men: 
"The carcass of the buck, entire, 

Canto LVI. Chitrakiita 565 

Is ready dressed upon the fire. 
Now be the sacred rites begun 
To please the God, thou godlike one." 

Rama the good, in ritual trained, 
Pure from the bath, with thoughts restrained, 
Hasted those verses to repeat 
Which make the sacrifice complete. 
The hosts celestial came in view, 
And Rama to the cot withdrew, 
While a sweet sense of rapture stole 
Through the unequalled hero's soul. 
He paid the Visvedevas 332 due. 
And Rudra's right, and Vishnu's too, 
Nor wonted blessings, to protect 
Their new-built home, did he neglect. 
With voice repressed he breathed the prayer, 
Bathed duly in the river fair, 
And gave good offerings that remove 
The stain of sin, as texts approve. 
And many an altar there he made, 
And shrines, to suit the holy shade, 
All decked with woodland chaplets sweet, 
And fruit and roots and roasted meat, 
With muttered prayer, as texts require, 
Water, and grass and wood and fire. 
So Rama, Lakshman, SM paid 
Their offerings to each God and shade, 
And entered then their pleasant cot 
That bore fair signs of happy lot. 
They entered, the illustrious three, 

332 Deities of a particular class in which five or ten are enumerated. They 
are worshipped particularly at the funeral obsequies in honour of deceased 

566 The Ramayana 

The well-set cottage, fair to see, 
Roofed with the leaves of many a tree, 

And fenced from wind and rain: 
So, at their Father Brahma's call, 
The Gods of heaven, assembling all, 
To their own glorious council hall 

Advance in shining train. 
So, resting on that lovely hill, 
Near the fair lily-covered rill, 

The happy prince forgot, 
Surrounded by the birds and deer, 
The woe, the longing, and the fear 

That gloom the exile's lot. 

Canto LVII. Sumantra's Return. 

When Rama reached the southern bank, 
King Guha's heart with sorrow sank: 
He with Sumantra talked, and spent 
With his deep sorrow, homeward went. 
Sumantra, as the king decreed, 
Yoked to the car each noble steed, 
And to Ayodhya's city sped 
With his sad heart disquieted. 
On lake and brook and scented grove 
His glances fell, as on he drove: 
City and village came in view 
As o'er the road his coursers flew. 
On the third day the charioteer, 
When now the hour of night was near, 
Came to Ayodhya's gate, and found 

Canto LVII. Sumantra's Return. 567 

The city all in sorrow drowned. 
To him, in spirit quite cast down, 
Forsaken seemed the silent town, 
And by the rush of grief oppressed 
He pondered in his mournful breast: 
"Is all Ayodhya burnt with grief, 
Steed, elephant, and man, and chief? 
Does her loved Rama's exile so 
Afflict her with the fires of woe?" 
Thus as he mused, his steeds flew fast, 
And swiftly through the gate he passed. 
On drove the charioteer, and then 
In hundreds, yea in thousands, men 
Ran to the car from every side, 
And, "Rama, where is Rama?" cried. 
Sumantra said: "My chariot bore 
The duteous prince to Ganga's shore; 
I left him there at his behest, 
And homeward to Ayodhya pressed." 
Soon as the anxious people knew 
That he was o'er the flood they drew 
Deep sighs, and crying, Rama! all 
Wailed, and big tears began to fall. 
He heard the mournful words prolonged, 
As here and there the people thronged: 
"Woe, woe for us, forlorn, undone, 
No more to look on Raghu's son! 
His like again we ne'er shall see, 
Of heart so true, of hand so free, 
In gifts, in gatherings for debate, 
When marriage pomps we celebrate, 
What should we do? What earthly thing 
Can rest, or hope, or pleasure bring?" 

568 The Ramayana 

Thus the sad town, which Rama kept 
As a kind father, wailed and wept. 
Each mansion, as the car went by, 
Sent forth a loud and bitter cry, 
As to the window every dame, 
Mourning for banished Rama, came. 
As his sad eyes with tears o'erflowed, 
He sped along the royal road 
To Dasaratha's high abode. 
There leaping down his car he stayed; 
Within the gates his way he made; 
Through seven broad courts he onward hied 
Where people thronged on every side. 
From each high terrace, wild with woe, 
[163] The royal ladies flocked below: 

He heard them talk in gentle tone, 
As each for Rama made her moan: 
"What will the charioteer reply 
To Queen Kausalya's eager cry? 
With Rama from the gates he went; 
Homeward alone, his steps are bent. 
Hard is a life with woe distressed, 
But difficult to win is rest, 
If, when her son is banished, still 
She lives beneath her load of ill." 

Such was the speech Sumantra heard 
From them whom grief unfeigned had stirred. 
As fires of anguish burnt him through, 
Swift to the monarch's hall he drew, 
Past the eighth court; there met his sight, 
The sovereign in his palace bright, 
Still weeping for his son, forlorn, 
Pale, faint, and all with sorrow worn. 

Canto LVII. Sumantra's Return. 569 

As there he sat, Sumantra bent 

And did obeisance reverent, 

And to the king repeated o'er 

The message he from Rama bore. 

The monarch heard, and well-nigh brake 

His heart, but yet no word he spake: 

Fainting to earth he fell, and dumb, 

By grief for Rama overcome. 

Rang through the hall a startling cry, 

And women's arms were tossed on high, 

When, with his senses all astray, 

Upon the ground the monarch lay. 

Kausalya, with Sumitra's aid, 

Raised from the ground her lord dismayed: 

"Sire, of high fate," she cried, "O, why 

Dost thou no single word reply 

To Rama's messenger who brings 

News of his painful wanderings? 

The great injustice done, art thou 

Shame-stricken for thy conduct now? 

Rise up, and do thy part: bestow 

Comfort and help in this our woe. 

Speak freely, King; dismiss thy fear, 

For Queen Kaikeyi stands not near, 

Afraid of whom thou wouldst not seek 

Tidings of Rama: freely speak." 

When the sad queen had ended so, 
She sank, insatiate in her woe, 
And prostrate lay upon the ground, 
While her faint voice by sobs was drowned. 
When all the ladies in despair 
Saw Queen Kausalya wailing there, 
And the poor king oppressed with pain, 

570 The Ramayana 

They flocked around and wept again. 

Canto LVIII. Rama's Message. 

The king a while had senseless lain, 
When care brought memory back again. 
Then straight he called, the news to hear 
Of Rama, for the charioteer, 
With reverent hand to hand applied 
He waited by the old man's side, 
Whose mind with anguish was distraught 
Like a great elephant newly caught. 
The king with bitter pain distressed 
The faithful charioteer addressed, 
Who, sad of mien, with flooded eye, 
And dust upon his limbs, stood by: 
"Where will be Rama's dwelling now 
At some tree's foot, beneath the bough; 
Ah, what will be the exile's food, 
Bred up with kind solicitude? 
Can he, long lapped in pleasant rest, 
Unmeet for pain, by pain oppressed, 
Son of earth's king, his sad night spend 
Earth-couched, as one that has no friend? 
Behind him, when abroad he sped, 
Cars, elephant, and foot were led: 
Then how shall Rama dwell afar 
In the wild woods where no men are? 
How, tell me, did the princes there, 
With Sita good and soft and fair, 
Alighting from the chariot, tread 

Canto LVIII. Rama's Message. 571 

The forest wilds around them spread? 

A happy lot is thine, I ween, 

Whose eyes my two dear sons have seen 

Seeking on foot the forest shade, 

Like the bright Twins to view displayed, 

The heavenly Asvins, when they seek 

The woods that hang 'neath Mandar's peak. 

What words, Sumantra, quickly tell, 

From Rama, Lakshman, Sita fell? 

How in the wood did Rama eat? 

What was his bed, and what his seat? 

Full answer to my questions give, 

For I on thy replies shall live, 

As with the saints Yayati held 

Sweet converse, from the skies expelled." 

Urged by the lord of men to speak, 
Whose sobbing voice came faint and weak, 
Thus he, while tears his utterance broke, 
In answer to the monarch spoke: 
"Hear then the words that Rama said, 
Resolved in duty's path to tread. 
Joining his hands, his head he bent, 
And gave this message, reverent: 
"Sumantra, to my father go, 
Whose lofty mind all people know: 
Bow down before him, as is meet, 
And in my stead salute his feet. 
Then to the queen my mother bend, 
And give the greeting that I send: 
Ne'er may her steps from duty err, 
And may it still be well with her. 
And add this word: "O Queen, pursue 
Thy vows with faithful heart and true; 

572 The Ramayana 

And ever at due season turn 
Where holy fires of worship burn. 
[164] And, lady, on our lord bestow 

Such honour as to Gods we owe. 
Be kind to every queen: let pride 
And thought of self be cast aside. 
In the king's fond opinion raise 
Kaikeyi, by respect and praise. 
Let the young Bharat ever be 
Loved, honoured as the king by thee: 
Thy king-ward duty ne'er forget: 
High over all are monarchs set." 

And Bharat, too, for me address: 
Pray that all health his life may bless. 
Let every royal lady share, 
As justice bids, his love and care. 
Say to the strong-armed chief who brings 
Joy to Iksvaku's line of kings: 
"As ruling prince thy care be shown 
Of him, our sire, who holds the throne. 
Stricken in years he feels their weight; 
But leave him in his royal state. 
As regent heir content thee still, 
Submissive to thy father's will.' " 
Rama again his charge renewed, 
As the hot flood his cheek bedewed: 
"Hold as thine own my mother dear 
Who drops for me the longing tear." 
Then Lakshman, with his soul on fire, 
Spake breathing fast these words of ire: 
"Say, for what sin, for what offence 
Was royal Rama banished thence? 
He is the cause, the king: poor slave 

Canto LVIII. Rama's Message. 573 

To the light charge Kaikeyi gave. 

Let right or wrong the motive be, 

The author of our woe is he. 

Whether the exile were decreed 

Through foolish faith or guilty greed, 

For promises or empire, still 

The king has wrought a grievous ill. 

Grant that the Lord of all saw fit 

To prompt the deed and sanction it, 

In Rama's life no cause I see 

For which the king should bid him flee. 

His blinded eyes refused to scan 

The guilt and folly of the plan, 

And from the weakness of the king 

Here and hereafter woe shall spring. 

No more my sire: the ties that used 

To bind me to the king are loosed. 

My brother Rama, Raghu's son, 

To me is lord, friend, sire in one. 

The love of men how can he win, 

Deserting, by the cruel sin, 

Their joy, whose heart is swift to feel 

A pleasure in the people's weal? 

Shall he whose mandate could expel 

The virtuous Rama, loved so well, 

To whom his subjects' fond hearts cling — 

Shall he in spite of them be king?" 

But Janak's child, my lord, stood by, 
And oft the votaress heaved a sigh. 
She seemed with dull and wandering sense, 
Beneath a spirit's influence. 
The noble princess, pained with woe 
Which till that hour she ne'er could know, 

574 The Ramayana 

Tears in her heavy trouble shed, 

But not a word to me she said. 

She raised her face which grief had dried 

And tenderly her husband eyed, 

Gazed on him as he turned to go 

While tear chased tear in rapid flow." 

Canto LIX. Dasaratha's Lament. 

As thus Sumantra, best of peers, 
Told his sad tale with many tears, 
The monarch cried, "I pray thee, tell 
At length again what there befell." 
Sumantra, at the king's behest, 
Striving with sobs he scarce repressed, 
His trembling voice at last controlled, 
And thus his further tidings told: 
"Their locks in votive coils they wound, 
Their coats of bark upon them bound, 
To Ganga's farther shore they went, 
Thence to Prayag their steps were bent. 
I saw that Lakshman walked ahead 
To guard the path the two should tread. 
So far I saw, no more could learn, 
Forced by the hero to return. 
Retracing slow my homeward course, 
Scarce could I move each stubborn horse: 
Shedding hot tears of grief he stood 

Canto LIX. Dasaratha's Lament. 575 

When Rama turned him to the wood. 333 

As the two princes parted thence 

I raised my hands in reverence, 

Mounted my ready car, and bore 

The grief that stung me to the core. 

With Guha all that day I stayed, 

Still by the earnest hope delayed 

That Rama, ere the time should end, 

Some message from the wood might send. 

Thy realms, great Monarch, mourn the blow, 

And sympathize with Rama's woe. [165] 

Each withering tree hangs low his head, 

And shoot, and bud, and flower are dead. 

Dried are the floods that wont to fill 

The lake, the river, and the rill. 

Drear is each grove and garden now, 

Dry every blossom on the bough. 

Each beast is still, no serpents crawl: 

A lethargy of woe on all. 

The very wood is silent: crushed 

With grief for Rama, all is hushed. 

Fair blossoms from the water born, 

Gay garlands that the earth adorn, 

And every fruit that gleams like gold, 

Have lost the scent that charmed of old. 

Empty is every grove I see, 

333 "So in Homer the horses of Achilles lamented with many bitter tears the 
death of Patroclus slain by Hector:" 

""Ittttoi 5' AiavdSao, ndxnc. anavevQev eotec., 

KXaiov, £Tt£i5r) Tipwra Ttu6£o6r|v r|vi6xoio 

'Ev Kovivoi tteoovtoc. ucp' "EKTopoc. dvSpocpovoio" 


"Ancient poesy frequently associated nature with the joys and sorrows of 

576 The Ramayana 

Or birds sit pensive on the tree. 
Where'er I look, its beauty o'er, 
The pleasance charms not as before. 
I drove through fair Ayodhya's street: 
None flew with joy the car to meet. 
They saw that Rama was not there, 
And turned them sighing in despair. 
The people in the royal way 
Wept tears of bitter grief, when they 
Beheld me coming, from afar, 
No Rama with me in the car. 
From palace roof and turret high 
Each woman bent her eager eye; 
She looked for Rama, but in vain; 
Gazed on the car and shrieked for pain. 
Their long clear eyes with sorrow drowned 
They, when this common grief was found, 
Looked each on other, friend and foe, 
In sympathy of levelling woe: 
No shade of difference between 
Foe, friend, or neutral, there was seen. 
Without a joy, her bosom rent 
With grief for Rama's banishment, 
Ayodhya like the queen appears 
Who mourns her son with many tears." 

Canto LIX. Dasaratha's Lament. 577 

He ended: and the king, distressed. 
With sobbing voice that lord addressed: 
"Ah me, by false Kaikeyi led, 
Of evil race, to evil bred, 
I took no counsel of the sage, 
Nor sought advice from skill and age, 
I asked no lord his aid to lend, 
I called no citizen or friend. 
Rash was my deed, bereft of sense 
Slave to a woman's influence. 
Surely, my lord, a woe so great 
Falls on us by the will of Fate; 
It lays the house of Raghu low, 
For Destiny will have it so. 
I pray thee, if I e'er have done 
An act to please thee, yea, but one, 
Fly, fly, and Rama homeward lead: 
My life, departing, counsels speed. 
Fly, ere the power to bid I lack, 
Fly to the wood: bring Rama back. 
I cannot live for even one 
Short hour bereaved of my son. 
But ah, the prince, whose arms are strong, 
Has journeyed far: the way is long: 
Me, me upon the chariot place, 
And let me look on Rama's face. 
Ah me, my son, mine eldest-born, 
Where roams he in the wood forlorn, 
The wielder of the mighty bow, 
Whose shoulders like the lion's show? 
O, ere the light of life be dim, 
Take me to Sita and to him. 
O Rama, Lakshman, and O thou 
Dear Sita, constant to thy vow, 

578 The Ramayana 

Beloved ones, you cannot know 
That I am dying of my woe." 

The king to bitter grief a prey, 
That drove each wandering sense away, 
Sunk in affliction's sea, too wide 
To traverse, in his anguish cried: 
"Hard, hard to pass, my Queen, this sea 
Of sorrow raging over me: 
No Rama near to soothe mine eye, 
Plunged in its lowest deeps I lie. 
Sorrow for Rama swells the tide, 
And Sita's absence makes it wide: 
My tears its foamy flood distain, 
Made billowy by my sighs of pain: 
My cries its roar, the arms I throw 
About me are the fish below, 
Kaikeyi is the fire that feeds 
Beneath: my hair the tangled weeds: 
Its source the tears for Rama shed: 
The hump-back's words its monsters dread: 
The boon I gave the wretch its shore, 
Till Rama's banishment be o'er. 334 

Ah me, that I should long to set 
My eager eyes to-day 

On Raghu's son, and he be yet 
With Lakshman far away!" 

Thus he of lofty glory wailed, 
And sank upon the bed. 

Beneath the woe his spirit failed, 
And all his senses fled. 

334 The lines containing this heap of forced metaphors are marked as spurious 
by Schlegel. 

Canto LX. Kausalya Consoled. 579 

Canto LX. Kausalya Consoled. 

As Queen Kausalya, trembling much, 

As blighted by a goblin's touch, 

Still lying prostrate, half awoke 

To consciousness, 'twas thus she spoke: 

"Bear me away, Sumantra, far, 

Where Rama, Sita, Lakshman are. 

Bereft of them I have no power 

To linger on a single hour. [166] 

Again, I pray, thy steps retrace, 

And me in Dandak forest place, 

For after them I needs must go, 

Or sink to Yama's realms below." 

His utterance choked by tears that rolled 
Down from their fountains uncontrolled, 
With suppliant hands the charioteer 
Thus spake, the lady's heart to cheer: 
"Dismiss thy grief, despair, and dread 
That fills thy soul, of sorrow bred, 
For pain and anguish thrown aside, 
Will Rama in the wood abide. 
And Lakshman, with unfailing care 
Will guard the feet of Rama there, 
Earning, with governed sense, the prize 
That waits on duty in the skies. 
And Sita in the wild as well 
As in her own dear home will dwell; 
To Rama all her heart she gives, 
And free from doubt and terror lives. 
No faintest sign of care or woe 
The features of the lady show: 
Methinks Videha's pride was made 

580 The Ramayana 

For exile in the forest shade. 
E'en as of old she used to rove 
Delighted in the city's grove, 
Thus, even thus she joys to tread 
The woodlands uninhabited. 
Like a young child, her face as fair 
As the young moon, she wanders there. 
What though in lonely woods she stray 
Still Rama is her joy and stay: 
All his the heart no sorrow bends, 
Her very life on him depends. 
For, if her lord she might not see, 
Ayodhya like the wood would be. 
She bids him, as she roams, declare 
The names of towns and hamlets there, 
Marks various trees that meet her eye, 
And many a brook that hurries by, 
And Janak's daughter seems to roam 
One little league away from home 
When Rama or his brother speaks 
And gives the answer that she seeks. 
This, Lady, I remember well, 
Nor angry words have I to tell: 
Reproaches at Kaikeyi shot, 
Such, Queen, my mind remembers not." 
The speech when Sita's wrath was high, 
Sumantra passed in silence by, 
That so his pleasant words might cheer 
With sweet report Kausalya's ear. 
"Her moonlike beauty suffers not 
Though winds be rude and suns be hot: 
The way, the danger, and the toil 
Her gentle lustre may not soil. 
Like the red lily's leafy crown 

Canto LX. Kausalya Consoled. 581 

Or as the fair full moon looks down, 

So the Videhan lady's face 

Still shines with undiminished grace. 

What if the borrowed colours throw 

O'er her fine feet no rosy glow, 

Still with their natural tints they spread 

A lotus glory where they tread. 

In sportive grace she walks the ground 

And sweet her chiming anklets sound. 

No jewels clasp the faultless limb: 

She leaves them all for love of him. 

If in the woods her gentle eye 

A lion sees, or tiger nigh, 

Or elephant, she fears no ill 

For Rama's arm supports her still. 

No longer be their fate deplored, 

Nor thine, nor that of Kosal's lord, 

For conduct such as theirs shall buy 

Wide glory that can never die. 

For casting grief and care away, 

Delighting in the forest, they 

With joyful spirits, blithe and gay, 

Set forward on the ancient way 

Where mighty saints have led: 
Their highest aim, their dearest care 
To keep their father's honour fair, 
Observing still the oath he sware, 

They roam, on wild fruit fed." 
Thus with persuasive art he tried 
To turn her from her grief aside, 

By soothing fancies won. 
But still she gave her sorrow vent: 
"Ah Rama," was her shrill lament, 

"My love, my son, my son!" 

582 The Ramayana 

Canto LXI. Kausalya's Lament. 

When, best of all who give delight, 
Her Rama wandered far from sight, 
Kausalya weeping, sore distressed, 
The king her husband thus addressed: 
"Thy name, O Monarch, far and wide 
Through the three worlds is glorified: 
Yet Rama's is the pitying mind, 
His speed is true, his heart is kind. 
How will thy sons, good lord, sustain 
With Sita, all their care and pain? 
How in the wild endure distress, 
Nursed in the lap of tenderness? 
How will the dear Videhan bear 
The heat and cold when wandering there 
Bred in the bliss of princely state, 
So young and fair and delicate? 
The large-eyed lady, wont to eat 
The best of finely seasoned meat — 
How will she now her life sustain 
With woodland fare of self-sown grain? 
Will she, with joys encompassed long, 
Who loved the music and the song, 
In the wild wood endure to hear 
The ravening lion's voice of fear? 
[167] Where sleeps my strong-armed hero, where, 

Like Lord Mahendra's standard, fair? 
Where is, by Lakshman's side, his bed, 
His club-like arm beneath his head? 
When shall I see his flower-like eyes, 
And face that with the lotus vies, 
Feel his sweet lily breath, and view 
His glorious hair and lotus hue? 

Canto LXI. Kausalya's Lament. 583 

The heart within my breast, I feel, 

Is adamant or hardest steel, 

Or, in a thousand fragments split, 

The loss of him had shattered it, 

When those I love, who should be blest, 

Are wandering in the wood distressed, 

Condemned their wretched lives to lead 

In exile, by thy ruthless deed. 

If, when the fourteen years are past, 

Rama reseeks his home at last, 

I think not Bharat will consent 

To yield the wealth and government. 

At funeral feasts some mourners deal 

To kith and kin the solemn meal, 

And having duly fed them all 

Some Brahmans to the banquet call. 

The best of Brahmans, good and wise, 

The tardy summoning despise, 

And, equal to the Gods, disdain 

Cups, e'en of Amrit, thus to drain. 

Nay e'en when Brahmans first have fed, 

They loathe the meal for others spread, 

And from the leavings turn with scorn, 

As bulls avoid a fractured horn. 

So Rama, sovereign lord of men, 

Will spurn the sullied kingship then: 

He born the eldest and the best, 

His younger's leavings will detest, 

Turning from tasted food away, 

As tigers scorn another's prey. 

The sacred post is used not twice, 

Nor elements, in sacrifice. 

But once the sacred grass is spread, 

But once with oil the flame is fed: 

584 The Ramayana 

So Rama's pride will ne'er receive 

The royal power which others leave, 

Like wine when tasteless dregs are left, 

Or rites of Soma juice bereft. 

Be sure the pride of Raghu's race 

Will never stoop to such disgrace: 

The lordly lion will not bear 

That man should beard him in his lair. 

Were all the worlds against him ranged 

His dauntless soul were still unchanged: 

He, dutiful, in duty strong, 

Would purge the impious world from wrong. 

Could not the hero, brave and bold, 

The archer, with his shafts of gold, 

Burn up the very seas, as doom 

Will in the end all life consume? 

Of lion's might, eyed like a bull, 

A prince so brave and beautiful, 

Thou hast with wicked hate pursued, 

Like sea-born tribes who eat their brood. 

If thou, O Monarch, hadst but known 

The duty all the Twice-born own, 

If the good laws had touched thy mind, 

Which sages in the Scriptures find, 

Thou ne'er hadst driven forth to pine 

This brave, this duteous son of thine. 

First on her lord the wife depends, 

Next on her son and last on friends: 

These three supports in life has she, 

And not a fourth for her may be. 

Thy heart, O King, I have not won; 

In wild woods roams my banished son; 

Far are my friends: ah, hapless me, 

Quite ruined and destroyed by thee." 

Canto LXII. Dasaratha Consoled. 585 

Canto LXII. Dasaratha Consoled. 

The queen's stern speech the monarch heard, 

As rage and grief her bosom stirred, 

And by his anguish sore oppressed 

Reflected in his secret breast. 

Fainting and sad, with woe distraught, 

He wandered in a maze of thought; 

At length the queller of the foe 

Grew conscious, rallying from his woe. 

When consciousness returned anew 

Long burning sighs the monarch drew, 

Again immersed in thought he eyed 

Kausalya standing by his side. 

Back to his pondering soul was brought 

The direful deed his hand had wrought, 

When, guiltless of the wrong intent, 

His arrow at a sound was sent. 

Distracted by his memory's sting, 

And mourning for his son, the king 

To two consuming griefs a prey, 

A miserable victim lay. 

The double woe devoured him fast, 

As on the ground his eyes he cast, 

Joined suppliant hands, her heart to touch, 

And spake in the answer, trembling much: 

"Kausalya, for thy grace I sue, 

Joining these hands as suppliants do. 

Thou e'en to foes hast ever been 

A gentle, good, and loving queen. 

Her lord, with noble virtues graced, 

Her lord, by lack of all debased, 

Is still a God in woman's eyes, 

If duty's law she hold and prize. 

586 The Ramayana 

Thou, who the right hast aye pursued, 
Life's changes and its chances viewed, 
Shouldst never launch, though sorrow-stirred, 
At me distressed, one bitter word." 

She listened, as with sorrow faint 
He murmured forth his sad complaint: 
Her brimming eyes with tears ran o'er, 
[168] As spouts the new fallen water pour; 

His suppliant hands, with fear dismayed 

She gently clasped in hers, and laid, 

Like a fair lotus, on her head, 

And faltering in her trouble said: 

"Forgive me; at thy feet I lie, 

With low bent head to thee I cry. 

By thee besought, thy guilty dame 

Pardon from thee can scarcely claim. 

She merits not the name of wife 

Who cherishes perpetual strife 

With her own husband good and wise, 

Her lord both here and in the skies. 

I know the claims of duty well, 

I know thy lips the truth must tell. 

All the wild words I rashly spoke, 

Forth from my heart, through anguish, broke; 

For sorrow bends the stoutest soul, 

And cancels Scripture's high control. 

Yea, sorrow's might all else o'erthrows 

The strongest and the worst of foes. 

'Tis thus with all: we keenly feel, 

Yet bear the blows our foemen deal, 

But when a slender woe assails 

The manliest spirit bends and quails. 

The fifth long night has now begun 

Canto LXIII. The Hermit's Son. 587 

Since the wild woods have lodged my son: 
To me whose joy is drowned in tears, 
Each day a dreary year appears. 
While all my thoughts on him are set 
Grief at my heart swells wilder yet: 
With doubled might thus Ocean raves 
When rushing floods increase his waves." 

As from Kausalya reasoning well 
The gentle words of wisdom fell, 
The sun went down with dying flame, 
And darkness o'er the landscape came. 
His lady's soothing words in part 
Relieved the monarch's aching heart, 
Who, wearied out by all his woes, 
Yielded to sleep and took repose. 

Canto LXIII. The Hermit's Son. 

But soon by rankling grief oppressed 
The king awoke from troubled rest, 
And his sad heart was tried again 
With anxious thought where all was pain. 
Rama and Lakshman's mournful fate 
On Dasaratha, good and great 
As Indra, pressed with crushing weight, 
As when the demon's might assails 
The Sun-God, and his glory pales. 
Ere yet the sixth long night was spent, 
Since Rama to the woods was sent, 
The king at midnight sadly thought 

588 The Ramayana 

Of the old crime his hand had wrought, 

And thus to Queen Kausalya cried 

Who still for Rama moaned and sighed: 

"If thou art waking, give, I pray, 

Attention to the words I say. 

Whate'er the conduct men pursue, 

Be good or ill the acts they do, 

Be sure, dear Queen, they find the meed 

Of wicked or of virtuous deed. 

A heedless child we call the man 

Whose feeble judgment fails to scan 

The weight of what his hands may do, 

Its lightness, fault, and merit too. 

One lays the Mango garden low, 

And bids the gay Palasas grow: 

Longing for fruit their bloom he sees, 

But grieves when fruit should bend the trees. 

Cut by my hand, my fruit-trees fell, 

Palasa trees I watered well. 

My hopes this foolish heart deceive, 

And for my banished son I grieve. 

Kausalya, in my youthful prime 

Armed with my bow I wrought the crime, 

Proud of my skill, my name renowned, 

An archer prince who shoots by sound. 

The deed this hand unwitting wrought 

This misery on my soul has brought, 

As children seize the deadly cup 

And blindly drink the poison up. 

As the unreasoning man may be 

Charmed with the gay Palasa tree, 

I unaware have reaped the fruit 

Of joying at a sound to shoot. 

As regent prince I shared the throne, 

Canto LXIII. The Hermit's Son. 589 

Thou wast a maid to me unknown, 

The early Rain-time duly came, 

And strengthened love's delicious flame. 

The sun had drained the earth that lay 

All glowing 'neath the summer day, 

And to the gloomy clime had fled 

Where dwell the spirits of the dead. 335 

The fervent heat that moment ceased, 

The darkening clouds each hour increased 

And frogs and deer and peacocks all 

Rejoiced to see the torrents fall. 

Their bright wings heavy from the shower, 

The birds, new-bathed, had scarce the power 

To reach the branches of the trees 

Whose high tops swayed beneath the breeze. 

The fallen rain, and falling still, 

Hung like a sheet on every hill, 

Till, with glad deer, each flooded steep 

Showed glorious as the mighty deep. 

The torrents down its wooded side 

Poured, some unstained, while others dyed [169] 

Gold, ashy, silver, ochre, bore 

The tints of every mountain ore. 

In that sweet time, when all are pleased, 

My arrows and my bow I seized; 

Keen for the chase, in field or grove, 

Down Sarju's bank my car I drove. 

I longed with all my lawless will 

Some elephant by night to kill, 

Some buffalo that came to drink, 

Or tiger, at the river's brink. 

When all around was dark and still, 

335 The southern region is the abode of Yama the Indian Pluto, and of departed 

590 The Ramayana 

I heard a pitcher slowly fill, 
And thought, obscured in deepest shade, 
An elephant the sound had made. 
I drew a shaft that glittered bright, 
Fell as a serpent's venomed bite; 
I longed to lay the monster dead, 
And to the mark my arrow sped. 
Then in the calm of morning, clear 
A hermit's wailing smote my ear: 
"Ah me, ah me," he cried, and sank, 
Pierced by my arrow, on the bank. 
E'en as the weapon smote his side, 
I heard a human voice that cried: 
"Why lights this shaft on one like me, 
A poor and harmless devotee? 
I came by night to fill my jar 
From this lone stream where no men are. 
Ah, who this deadly shaft has shot? 
Whom have I wronged, and knew it not? 
Why should a boy so harmless feel 
The vengeance of the winged steel? 
Or who should slay the guiltless son 
Of hermit sire who injures none, 
Who dwells retired in woods, and there 
Supports his life on woodland fare? 
Ah me, ah me, why am I slain, 
What booty will the murderer gain? 
In hermit coils I bind my hair, 
Coats made of skin and bark I wear. 
Ah, who the cruel deed can praise 
Whose idle toil no fruit repays, 
As impious as the wretch's crime 
Who dares his master's bed to climb? 
Nor does my parting spirit grieve 

Canto LXIII. The Hermit's Son. 591 

But for the life which thus I leave: 

Alas, my mother and my sire, — 

I mourn for them when I expire. 

Ah me, that aged, helpless pair, 

Long cherished by my watchful care, 

How will it be with them this day 

When to the Five 336 I pass away? 

Pierced by the self-same dart we die, 

Mine aged mother, sire, and I. 

Whose mighty hand, whose lawless mind 

Has all the three to death consigned?" 

When I, by love of duty stirred, 
That touching lamentation heard, 
Pierced to the heart by sudden woe, 
I threw to earth my shafts and bow. 
My heart was full of grief and dread 
As swiftly to the place I sped, 
Where, by my arrow wounded sore, 
A hermit lay on Sarju's shore. 
His matted hair was all unbound, 
His pitcher empty on the ground, 
And by the fatal arrow pained, 
He lay with dust and gore distained. 
I stood confounded and amazed: 
His dying eyes to mine he raised, 
And spoke this speech in accents stern, 
As though his light my soul would burn: 
"How have I wronged thee, King, that I 
Struck by thy mortal arrow die? 
The wood my home, this jar I brought, 
And water for my parents sought. 
This one keen shaft that strikes me through 

336 The five elements of which the body consists, and to which it returns. 

592 The Ramayana 

Slays sire and aged mother too. 

Feeble and blind, in helpless pain, 

They wait for me and thirst in vain. 

They with parched lips their pangs must bear, 

And hope will end in blank despair. 

Ah me, there seems no fruit in store 

For holy zeal or Scripture lore, 

Or else ere now my sire would know 

That his dear son is lying low. 

Yet, if my mournful fate he knew, 

What could his arm so feeble do? 

The tree, firm-rooted, ne'er may be 

The guardian of a stricken tree. 

Haste to my father, and relate 

While time allows, my sudden fate, 

Lest he consume thee as the fire 

Burns up the forest, in his ire. 

This little path, O King, pursue: 

My father's cot thou soon wilt view. 

There sue for pardon to the sage, 

Lest he should curse thee in his rage. 

First from the wound extract the dart 

That kills me with its deadly smart, 

E'en as the flushed impetuous tide 

Eats through the river's yielding side." 

I feared to draw the arrow out, 
And pondered thus in painful doubt: 
"Now tortured by the shaft he lies, 
But if I draw it forth he dies." 
Helpless I stood, faint, sorely grieved: 
The hermit's son my thought perceived; 
As one o'ercome by direst pain 
He scarce had strength to speak again. 

Canto LXIV. Dasaratha's Death. 593 

With writhing limb and struggling breath, 

Nearer and ever nearer death 

"My senses undisturbed remain, 

And fortitude has conquered pain: 

Now from one tear thy soul be freed. 

Thy hand has made a Brahman bleed. 

Let not this pang thy bosom wring: 

No twice-born youth am I, O King, [170] 

For of a Vaisya sire I came, 

Who wedded with a Siidra dame." 

These words the boy could scarcely say, 
As tortured by the shaft he lay, 
Twisting his helpless body round, 
Then trembling senseless on the ground. 
Then from his bleeding side I drew 
The rankling shaft that pierced him through. 
With death's last fear my face he eyed, 
And, rich in store of penance, died." 

Canto LXIV. Dasaratha's Death. 

The son of Raghu to his queen 

Thus far described the unequalled scene, 

And, as the hermit's death he rued, 

The mournful story thus renewed: 

"The deed my heedless hand had wrought 

Perplexed me with remorseful thought, 

And all alone I pondered still 

How kindly deed might salve the ill. 

The pitcher from the ground I took, 

594 The Ramayana 

And filled it from that fairest brook, 

Then, by the path the hermit showed, 

I reached his sainted sire's abode. 

I came, I saw: the aged pair, 

Feeble and blind, were sitting there, 

Like birds with clipped wings, side by side, 

With none their helpless steps to guide. 

Their idle hours the twain beguiled 

With talk of their returning child, 

And still the cheering hope enjoyed, 

The hope, alas, by me destroyed. 

Then spoke the sage, as drawing near 

The sound of footsteps reached his ear: 

"Dear son, the water quickly bring; 

Why hast thou made this tarrying? 

Thy mother thirsts, and thou hast played, 

And bathing in the brook delayed. 

She weeps because thou earnest not; 

Haste, O my son, within the cot. 

If she or I have ever done 

A thing to pain thee, dearest son, 

Dismiss the memory from thy mind: 

A hermit thou, be good and kind. 

On thee our lives, our all, depend: 

Thou art thy friendless parents' friend. 

The eyeless couple's eye art thou: 

Then why so cold and silent now?" 

With sobbing voice and bosom wrung 
I scarce could move my faltering tongue, 
And with my spirit filled with dread 
I looked upon the sage, and said, 
While mind, and sense, and nerve I strung 
To fortify my trembling tongue, 

Canto LXIV. Dasaratha's Death. 595 

And let the aged hermit know 
His son's sad fate, my fear and woe: 
"High-minded Saint, not I thy child, 
A warrior, Dasaratha styled. 
I bear a grievous sorrow's weight 
Born of a deed which good men hate. 
My lord, I came to Sarjii's shore, 
And in my hand my bow I bore 
For elephant or beast of chase 
That seeks by night his drinking place. 
There from the stream a sound I heard 
As if a jar the water stirred. 
An elephant, I thought, was nigh: 
I aimed, and let an arrow fly. 
Swift to the place I made my way, 
And there a wounded hermit lay 
Gasping for breath: the deadly dart 
Stood quivering in his youthful heart. 
I hastened near with pain oppressed; 
He faltered out his last behest. 
And quickly, as he bade me do, 
From his pierced side the shaft I drew. 
I drew the arrow from the rent, 
And up to heaven the hermit went, 
Lamenting, as from earth he passed, 
His aged parents to the last. 
Thus, unaware, the deed was done: 
My hand, unwitting, killed thy son. 
For what remains, O, let me win 
Thy pardon for my heedless sin." 

As the sad tale of sin I told 
The hermit's grief was uncontrolled. 
With flooded eyes, and sorrow-faint, 

596 The Ramayana 

Thus spake the venerable saint: 

I stood with hand to hand applied, 

And listened as he spoke and sighed: 

"If thou, O King, hadst left unsaid 

By thine own tongue this tale of dread, 

Thy head for hideous guilt accursed 

Had in a thousand pieces burst. 

A hermit's blood by warrior spilt, 

In such a case, with purposed guilt, 

Down from his high estate would bring 

Even the thunder's mighty King. 

And he a dart who conscious sends 

Against the devotee who spends 

His pure life by the law of Heaven — 

That sinner's head will split in seven. 

Thou livest, for thy heedless hand 

Has wrought a deed thou hast not planned, 

Else thou and all of Raghu's line 

Had perished by this act of thine. 

Now guide us," thus the hermit said, 

"Forth to the spot where he lies dead. 

Guide us, this day, O Monarch, we 

For the last time our son would see: 

The hermit dress of skin he wore 

Rent from his limbs distained with gore; 

His senseless body lying slain, 

His soul in Yama's dark domain." 

Alone the mourning pair I led, 

Their souls with woe disquieted, 

[171] And let the dame and hermit lay 

Their hands upon the breathless clay. 
The father touched his son, and pressed 
The body to his aged breast; 

Canto LXIV. Dasaratha's Death. 597 

Then falling by the dead boy's side, 
He lifted up his voice, and cried: 

"Hast thou no word, my child, to say? 
No greeting for thy sire to-day? 
Why art thou angry, darling? why 
Wilt thou upon the cold earth lie? 
If thou, my son, art wroth with me, 
Here, duteous child, thy mother see. 
What! no embrace for me, my son? 
No word of tender love — not one? 
Whose gentle voice, so soft and clear, 
Soothing my spirit, shall I hear 
When evening comes, with accents sweet 
Scripture or ancient lore repeat? 
Who, having fed the sacred fire, 
And duly bathed, as texts require, 
Will cheer, when evening rites are done, 
The father mourning for his son? 
Who will the daily meal provide 
For the poor wretch who lacks a guide, 
Feeding the helpless with the best 
Berries and roots, like some dear guest? 
How can these hands subsistence find 
For thy poor mother, old and blind? 
The wretched votaress how sustain, 
Who mourns her child in ceaseless pain? 
Stay yet a while, my darling, stay, 
Nor fly to Yama's realm to-day. 
To-morrow I thy sire and she 
Who bare thee, child, will go with, thee. 337 

337 So dying York cries over the body of Suffolk: 

"Tarry, dear cousin Suffolk! 
My soul shall thine keep company to heaven: 

598 The Ramayana 

Then when I look on Yama, I 

To great Vivasvat's son will cry: 

"Hear, King of justice, and restore 

Our child to feed us, I implore. 

Lord of the world, of mighty fame, 

Faithful and just, admit my claim, 

And grant this single boon to free 

My soul from fear, to one like me." 

Because, my son, untouched by stain, 

By sinful hands thou fallest slain, 

Win, through thy truth, the sphere where those 

Who die by hostile darts repose. 

Seek the blest home prepared for all 

The valiant who in battle fall, 

Who face the foe and scorn to yield, 

In glory dying on the field. 

Rise to the heaven where Dhundhumar 

And Nahush, mighty heroes, are, 

Where Janamejay and the blest 

Dihpa, Sagar, Saivya, rest: 

Home of all virtuous spirits, earned 

By fervent rites and Scripture learned: 

By those whose sacred fires have glowed, 

Whose liberal hands have fields bestowed: 

By givers of a thousand cows, 

By lovers of one faithful spouse: 

By those who serve their masters well, 

And cast away this earthly shell. 

None of my race can ever know 

The bitter pain of lasting woe. 

But doomed to that dire fate is he 

Tarry, sweet soul, for mine, then fly abreast.' 
King Henry V, Act IV, 6. 

Canto LXIV. Dasaratha's Death. 599 

Whose guilty hand has slaughtered thee." 

Thus with wild tears the aged saint 
Made many a time his piteous plaint, 
Then with his wife began to shed 
The funeral water for the dead. 
But in a shape celestial clad, 
Won by the merits of the lad, 
The spirit from the body brake 
And to the mourning parents spake: 
"A glorious home in realms above 
Rewards my care and filial love. 
You, honoured parents, soon shall be 
Partakers of that home with me." 

He spake, and swiftly mounting high, 
With Indra near him, to the sky 
On a bright car, with flame that glowed, 
Sublime the duteous hermit rode. 

The father, with his consort's aid, 
The funeral rites with water paid, 
And thus his speech to me renewed 
Who stood in suppliant attitude: 
"Slay me this day, O, slay me, King, 
For death no longer has a sting. 
Childless am I: thy dart has done 
To death my dear, my only son. 
Because the boy I loved so well 
Slain by thy heedless arrow fell, 
My curse upon thy soul shall press 
With bitter woe and heaviness. 
I mourn a slaughtered child, and thou 
Shalt feel the pangs that kill me now. 
Bereft and suffering e'en as I, 

600 The Ramayana 

So shalt thou mourn thy son, and die. 

Thy hand unwitting dealt the blow 

That laid a holy hermit low, 

And distant, therefore, is the time 

When thou shalt suffer for the crime. 

The hour shall come when, crushed by woes 

Like these I feel, thy life shall close: 

A debt to pay in after days 

Like his the priestly fee who pays." 

This curse on me the hermit laid, 
Nor yet his tears and groans were stayed. 
Then on the pyre their bodies cast 
The pair; and straight to heaven they passed. 
As in sad thought I pondered long 
Back to my memory came the wrong 
Done in wild youth, O lady dear, 
[172] When 'twas my boast to shoot by ear. 

The deed has borne the fruit, which now 
Hangs ripe upon the bending bough: 
Thus dainty meats the palate please, 
And lure the weak to swift disease. 
Now on my soul return with dread 
The words that noble hermit said, 
That I for a dear son should grieve, 
And of the woe my life should leave." 

Thus spake the king with many a tear; 
Then to his wife he cried in fear: 
"I cannot see thee, love; but lay 
Thy gentle hand in mine, I pray. 
Ah me, if Rama touched me thus, 
If once, returning home to us, 
He bade me wealth and lordship give, 

Canto LXIV. Dasaratha's Death. 601 

Then, so I think, my soul would live. 

Unlike myself, unjust and mean 

Have been my ways with him, my Queen, 

But like himself is all that he, 

My noble son, has done to me. 

His son, though far from right he stray, 

What prudent sire would cast away? 

What banished son would check his ire, 

Nor speak reproaches of his sire? 

I see thee not: these eyes grow blind, 

And memory quits my troubled mind. 

Angels of Death are round me: they 

Summon my soul with speed away. 

What woe more grievous can there be, 

That, when from light and life I flee, 

I may not, ere I part, behold 

My virtuous Rama, true and bold? 

Grief for my son, the brave and true, 

Whose joy it was my will to do, 

Dries up my breath, as summer dries 

The last drop in the pool that lies. 

Not men, but blessed Gods, are they 

Whose eyes shall see his face that day; 

See him, when fourteen years are past, 

With earrings decked return at last. 

My fainting mind forgets to think: 

Low and more low my spirits sink. 

Each from its seat, my senses steal: 

I cannot hear, or taste, or feel. 

This lethargy of soul o'ercomes 

Each organ, and its function numbs: 

So when the oil begins to fail, 

The torch's rays grow faint and pale. 

This flood of woe caused by this hand 

602 The Ramayana 

Destroys me helpless and unmanned, 

Resistless as the floods that bore 

A passage through the river shore. 

Ah Raghu's son, ah mighty-armed, 

By whom my cares were soothed and charmed, 

My son in whom I took delight, 

Now vanished from thy father's sight! 

Kausalya, ah, I cannot see; 

Sumitra, gentle devotee! 

Alas, Kaikeyi, cruel dame, 

My bitter foe, thy father's shame!" 

Kausalya and Sumitra kept 
Their watch beside him as he wept. 
And Dasaratha moaned and sighed, 
And grieving for his darling died. 

Canto LXV. The Women's Lament. 

And now the night had past away, 
And brightly dawned another day; 
The minstrels, trained to play and sing, 
Flocked to the chamber of the king: 
Bards, who their gayest raiment wore, 
And heralds famed for ancient lore: 
And singers, with their songs of praise, 
Made music in their several ways. 
There as they poured their blessings choice 
And hailed their king with hand and voice, 
Their praises with a swelling roar 
Echoed through court and corridor. 

Canto LXV. The Women's Lament. 603 

Then as the bards his glory sang, 
From beaten palms loud answer rang, 
As glad applauders clapped their hands, 
And told his deeds in distant lands. 
The swelling concert woke a throng 
Of sleeping birds to life and song: 
Some in the branches of the trees, 
Some caged in halls and galleries. 
Nor was the soft string music mute; 
The gentle whisper of the lute, 
And blessings sung by singers skilled 
The palace of the monarch filled. 
Eunuchs and dames of life unstained, 
Each in the arts of waiting trained, 
Drew near attentive as before, 
And crowded to the chamber door: 
These skilful when and how to shed 
The lustral stream o'er limb and head, 
Others with golden ewers stood 
Of water stained with sandal wood. 
And many a maid, pure, young, and fair, 
Her load of early offerings bare, 
Cups of the flood which all revere, 
And sacred things, and toilet gear. 
Each several thing was duly brought 
As rule of old observance taught, 
And lucky signs on each impressed 
Stamped it the fairest and the best. 
There anxious, in their long array, 
All waited till the shine of day: 
But when the king nor rose nor spoke, 
Doubt and alarm within them woke. 
Forthwith the dames, by duty led, 
Attendants on the monarch's bed, 

604 The Ramayana 

Within the royal chamber pressed 
To wake their master from his rest. 
Skilled in the lore of dreaming, they 
First touched the bed on which he lay. 
[173] But none replied; no sound was heard, 

Nor hand, nor head, nor body stirred. 
They trembled, and their dread increased, 
Fearing his breath of life had ceased, 
And bending low their heads, they shook 
Like the tall reeds that fringe the brook. 
In doubt and terror down they knelt, 
Looked on his face, his cold hand felt, 
And then the gloomy truth appeared 
Of all their hearts had darkly feared. 
Kausalya and Sumitra, worn 
With weeping for their sons, forlorn, 
Woke not, but lay in slumber deep 
And still as death's unending sleep. 
Bowed down by grief, her colour fled, 
Her wonted lustre dull and dead, 
Kausalya shone not, like a star 
Obscured behind a cloudy bar. 
Beside the king's her couch was spread, 
And next was Queen Sumitra's bed, 
Who shone no more with beauty's glow, 
Her face bedewed with tears of woe. 
There lapped in sleep each wearied queen, 
There as in sleep, the king was seen; 
And swift the troubling thought came o'er 
Their spirits that he breathed no more. 
At once with wailing loud and high 
The matrons shrieked a bitter cry, 
As widowed elephants bewail 
Their dead lord in the woody vale. 

Canto LXV. The Women's Lament. 605 

At the loud shriek that round them rang, 

Kausalya and Sumitra sprang 

Awakened from their beds, with eyes 

Wide open in their first surprise. 

Quick to the monarch's side they came, 

And saw and touched his lifeless frame; 

One cry, O husband! forth they sent, 

And prostrate to the ground they went. 

The king of Kosal's daughter 338 there 

Writhed, with the dust on limb and hair 

Lustreless, as a star might lie 

Hurled downward from the glorious sky. 

When the king's voice in death was stilled, 

The women who the chamber filled 

Saw, like a widow elephant slain, 

Kausalya prostrate in her pain. 

Then all the monarch's ladies led 

By Queen Kaikeyi at their head, 

Poured forth their tears, and weeping so, 

Sank on the ground, consumed by woe. 

The cry of grief so long and loud 

Went up from all the royal crowd, 

That, doubled by the matron train, 

It made the palace ring again. 

Filled with dark fear and eager eyes, 

Anxiety and wild surmise; 

Echoing with the cries of grief 

Of sorrowing friends who mourned their chief, 

Dejected, pale with deep distress, 

Hurled from their height of happiness: 

Such was the look the palace wore 

Where lay the king who breathed no more. 

338 Kausalya, daughter of the king of another Kosal. 

606 The Ramayana 

Canto LXVI. The Embalming. 

Kausalya's eyes with tears o'erflowed, 
Weighed down by varied sorrows' load; 
On her dead lord her gaze she bent, 
Who lay like fire whose might is spent, 
Like the great deep with waters dry, 
Or like the clouded sun on high. 
Then on her lap she laid his head. 
And on Kaikeyi looked and said: 
"Triumphant now enjoy thy reign 
Without a thorn thy side to pain. 
Thou hast pursued thy single aim, 
And killed the king, O wicked dame. 
Far from my sight my Rama flies, 
My perished lord has sought the skies. 
No friend, no hope my life to cheer, 
I cannot tread the dark path here. 
Who would forsake her husband, who 
That God to whom her love is due, 
And wish to live one hour, but she 
Whose heart no duty owns, like thee? 
The ravenous sees no fault: his greed 
Will e'en on poison blindly feed. 
Kaikeyi, through a hump-back maid, 
This royal house in death has laid. 
King Janak, with his queen, will hear 
Heart rent like me the tidings drear 
Of Rama banished by the king, 
Urged by her impious counselling. 
No son has he, his age is great, 
And sinking with the double weight, 
He for his darling child will pine, 
And pierced with woe his life resign. 

Canto LXVI. The Embalming. 607 

Sprung from Videha's monarch, she 
A sad and lovely devotee, 
Roaming the wood, unmeet for woe, 
Will toil and trouble undergo. 
She in the gloomy night with fear 
The cries of beast and bird will hear, 
And trembling in her wild alarm 
Will cling to Rama's sheltering arm. 
Ah, little knows my duteous son 
That I am widowed and undone — 
My Rama of the lotus eye, 
Gone hence, gone hence, alas, to die. 
Now, as a living wife and true, 
I, e'en this day, will perish too: 
Around his form these arms will throw 
And to the fire with him will go." 

Clasping her husband's lifeless clay 
A while the weeping votaress lay, 

Till chamberlains removed her thence [174] 

O'ercome by sorrow's violence. 
Then in a cask of oil they laid 
Him who in life the world had swayed, 
And finished, as the lords desired, 
All rites for parted souls required. 
The lords, all-wise, refused to burn 
The monarch ere his son's return; 
So for a while the corpse they set 
Embalmed in oil, and waited yet. 
The women heard: no doubt remained, 
And wildly for the king they plained. 
With gushing tears that drowned each eye 
Wildly they waved their arms on high, 
And each her mangling nails impressed 

608 The Ramayana 

Deep in her head and knee and breast: 
"Of Rama reft, — who ever spake 
The sweetest words the heart to take, 
Who firmly to the truth would cling, — 
Why dost thou leave us, mighty King? 
How can the consorts thou hast left 
Widowed, of Raghu's son bereft, 
Live with our foe Kaikeyi near, 
The wicked queen we hate and fear? 
She threw away the king, her spite 
Drove Rama forth and Lakshman's might, 
And gentle Sita: how will she 
Spare any, whosoe'er it be?" 

Oppressed with sorrow, tear-distained, 
The royal women thus complained. 
Like night when not a star appears, 
Like a sad widow drowned in tears, 
Ayodhya's city, dark and dim, 
Reft of her lord was sad for him. 
When thus for woe the king to heaven had fled, 

And still on earth his lovely wives remained. 
With dying light the sun to rest had sped, 

And night triumphant o'er the landscape reigned. 

Canto LXVII. The Praise Of Kings. 

Canto LXVII. The Praise Of Kings. 609 

That night of sorrow passed away, 
And rose again the God of Day. 
Then all the twice-born peers of state 
Together met for high debate. 
Javali, lord of mighty fame. 
And Gautam, and Katyayan came, 
And Markandeya's reverend age, 
And Vamadeva, glorious sage: 
Sprung from Mudgalya's seed the one, 
The other ancient Kasyap's son. 
With lesser lords these Brahmans each 
Spoke in his turn his several speech, 
And turning to Vasishtha, best 
Of household priests him thus addressed: 
"The night of bitter woe has past, 
Which seemed a hundred years to last, 
Our king, in sorrow for his son, 
Reunion with the Five has won. 
His soul is where the blessed are, 
While Rama roams in woods afar, 
And Lakshman, bright in glorious deeds, 
Goes where his well-loved brother leads. 
And Bharat and Satrughna, they 
Who smite their foes in battle fray, 
Far in the realm of Kekaya stay, 
Where their maternal grandsire's care 
Keeps Rajagriha's city fair. 
Let one of old Ikshvaku's race 
Obtain this day the sovereign's place, 
Or havoc and destruction straight 
Our kingless land will devastate. 
In kingless lands no thunder's voice, 
No lightning wreaths the heart rejoice, 
Nor does Parjanya's heavenly rain 

610 The Ramayana 

Descend upon the burning plain. 

Where none is king, the sower's hand 

Casts not the seed upon the land; 

The son against the father strives. 

And husbands fail to rule their wives. 

In kingless realms no princes call 

Their friends to meet in crowded hall; 

No joyful citizens resort 

To garden trim or sacred court. 

In kingless realms no Twice-born care 

To sacrifice with text and prayer, 

Nor Brahmans, who their vows maintain, 

The great solemnities ordain. 

The joys of happier days have ceased: 

No gathering, festival, or feast 

Together calls the merry throng 

Delighted with the play and song. 

In kingless lands it ne'er is well 

With sons of trade who buy and sell: 

No men who pleasant tales repeat 

Delight the crowd with stories sweet. 

In kingless realms we ne'er behold 

Young maidens decked with gems and gold, 

Flock to the gardens blithe and gay 

To spend their evening hours in play. 

No lover in the flying car 

Rides with his love to woods afar. 

In kingless lands no wealthy swain 

Who keeps the herd and reaps the grain, 

Lies sleeping, blest with ample store, 

Securely near his open door. 

Upon the royal roads we see 

No tusked elephant roaming free, 

Of three-score years, whose head and neck 

Canto LXVII. The Praise Of Kings. 611 

Sweet tinkling bells of silver deck. 

We hear no more the glad applause 

When his strong bow each rival draws, 

No clap of hands, no eager cries 

That cheer each martial exercise. 

In kingless realms no merchant bands 

Who travel forth to distant lands, 

With precious wares their wagons load, [175] 

And fear no danger on the road. 

No sage secure in self-control, 

Brooding on God with mind and soul, 

In lonely wanderings finds his home 

Where'er at eve his feet may roam. 

In kingless realms no man is sure 

He holds his life and wealth secure. 

In kingless lands no warriors smite 

The foeman's host in glorious fight. 

In kingless lands the wise no more, 

Well trained in Scripture's holy lore, 

In shady groves and gardens meet 

To argue in their calm retreat. 

No longer, in religious fear, 

Do they who pious vows revere, 

Bring dainty cates and wreaths of flowers 

As offerings to the heavenly powers. 

No longer, bright as trees in spring, 

Shine forth the children of the king 

Resplendent in the people's eyes 

With aloe wood and sandal dyes. 

A brook where water once has been, 

A grove where grass no more is green, 

Kine with no herdsman's guiding hand — 

So wretched is a kingless land. 

The car its waving banner rears, 

612 The Ramayana 

Banner of fire the smoke appears: 
Our king, the banner of our pride, 
A God with Gods is glorified. 
In kingless lands no law is known, 
And none may call his wealth his own, 
Each preys on each from hour to hour, 
As fish the weaker fish devour. 
Then fearless, atheists overleap 
The bounds of right the godly keep, 
And when no royal powers restrain, 
Preeminence and lordship gain. 
As in the frame of man the eye 
Keeps watch and ward, a careful spy, 
The monarch in his wide domains 
Protects the truth, the right maintains. 
He is the right, the truth is he, 
Their hopes in him the well-born see. 
On him his people's lives depend, 
Mother is he, and sire, and friend. 
The world were veiled in blinding night, 
And none could see or know aright, 
Ruled there no king in any state 
The good and ill to separate. 
We will obey thy word and will 
As if our king were living still: 
As keeps his bounds the faithful sea, 
So we observe thy high decree. 
O best of Brahmans, first in place, 

Our kingless land lies desolate: 
Some scion of Ikshvaku's race 

Do thou as monarch consecrate." 

Canto LXVIII. The Envoys. 613 

Canto LXVIII. The Envoys. 

Vasishtha heard their speech and prayer, 
And thus addressed the concourse there, 
Friends, Brahmans, counsellors, and all 
Assembled in the palace hall: 
"Ye know that Bharat, free from care, 
Still lives in Rajagriha 339 where 
The father of his mother reigns: 
Satrughna by his side remains. 
Let active envoys, good at need, 
Thither on fleetest horses speed, 
To bring the hero youths away: 
Why waste the time in dull delay?" 

Quick came from all the glad reply: 
"Vasishtha, let the envoys fly!" 
He heard their speech, and thus renewed 
His charge before the multitude: 
"Nandan, Asok, Siddharth, attend, 
Your ears, Jayanta, Vijay, lend: 
Be yours, what need requires, to do: 
I speak these words to all of you. 
With coursers of the fleetest breed 
To Rajagriha's city speed. 
Then rid your bosoms of distress, 
And Bharat thus from me address: 
"The household priest and peers by us 
Send health to thee and greet thee thus: 
Come to thy father's home with haste: 
Thine absent time no longer waste." 

339 Rajagriha, or Girivraja was the capital of Asvapati, Bharat's maternal 

614 The Ramayana 

But speak no word of Rama fled, 
Tell not the prince his sire is dead, 
Nor to the royal youth the fate 
That ruins Raghu's race relate. 
Go quickly hence, and with you bear 
Fine silken vestures rich and rare, 
And gems and many a precious thing 
As gifts to Bharat and the king." 

With ample stores of food supplied, 
Each to his home the envoys hied, 
Prepared, with steeds of swiftest race, 
To Kekaya's land 340 their way to trace. 
They made all due provision there, 
And every need arranged with care, 
Then ordered by Vasishtha, they 
Went forth with speed upon their way. 
Then northward of Pralamba, west 
Of Apartala, on they pressed, 
Crossing the Malini that flowed 
With gentle stream athwart the road. 
[176] They traversed Ganga's holy waves 

Where she Hastinapura 341 laves, 
Thence to Panchala 342 westward fast 
Through Kurujangal's land 343 Note. 

340 The Kekayas or Kaikayas in the Punjab appear amongst the chief nations 
in the war of the Mahabharata; their king being a kinsman of Krishna. 

341 Hastinapura was the capital of the kingdom of Kuru, near the modern Delhi. 

342 The Panchalas occupied the upper part of the Doab. 

343 "Kurujangala and its inhabitants are frequently mentioned in the 
Mahabharata, as in the Adi-parv. 3789, 4337, et al." WILSON'SJFNS Vishnu 
Purdna, Vol. II. p. 176. DR. HALL'S{FNS 

Canto LXVIII. The Envoys. 615 

they passed. 

On, on their course the envoys held 

By urgency of task impelled. 

Quick glancing at each lucid flood 

And sweet lake gay with flower and bud. 

Beyond, they passed unwearied o'er, 

Where glad birds fill the flood and shore 

Of Saradanda racing fleet 

With heavenly water clear and sweet, 

Thereby a tree celestial grows 

Which every boon on prayer bestows: 

To its blest shade they humbly bent, 

Then to Kulinga's town they went. 

Then, having passed the Warrior's Wood, 

In Abhikala next they stood, 

O'er sacred Ikshumati 344 Edition. The Ikshumati was a river in 


Their ancient kings' ancestral claim. 
They saw the learned Brahmans stand, 
Each drinking from his hollowed hand, 
And through Bahfka 345 journeying still 
They reached at length Sudaman's hill: 
There Vishnu's footstep turned to see, 
Vipasa 346 viewed, and Salmah, 
And many a lake and river met, 
Tank, pool, and pond, and rivulet. 

344 "The 'O^uijcmc, of Arrian. See As. Res. Vol. XV. p. 420, 421, also 
Indische Alterthumskunde, Vol. I. p. 602, first footnote." WILSON'SJFNS 
Vishnu Purdna, Vol. I. p. 421. DR. HALL'SJFNS 

345 "jjjg Bahikas are described in the Mahabharata, Kama Parvan, with some 
detail, and comprehend the different nations of the Punjab from the Sutlej to 
the Indus." WILSON'SJFNS Vishnu Purdna, Vol. I. p. 167. 

346 The Beas, Hyphasis, or Bibasis. 

616 The Ramayana 

And lions saw, and tigers near, 

And elephants and herds of deer, 

And still, by prompt obedience led, 

Along the ample road they sped. 

Then when their course so swift and long, 

Had worn their steeds though fleet and strong, 

To Girivraja's splendid town 

They came by night, and lighted down. 

To please their master, and to guard 

The royal race, the lineal right, 
The envoys, spent with riding hard, 

To that fair city came by night. 347 

347 It would be lost labour to attempt to verify all the towns and streams 
mentioned in Cantos LXVIII and LXXII. Professor Wilson observes (Vishnu 
Purdna, p. 139. Dr. Hall's Edition) "States, and tribes, and cities have disap- 
peared, even from recollection; and some of the natural features of the country, 
especially the rivers, have undergone a total alteration.... Notwithstanding 
these impediments, however, we should be able to identify at least mountains 
and rivers, to a much greater extent than is now practicable, if our maps were 
not so miserably defective in their nomenclature. None of our surveyors or 
geographers have been oriental scholars. It may be doubted if any of them 
have been conversant with the spoken language of the country. They have, 
consequently, put down names at random, according to their own inaccurate 
appreciation of sounds carelessly, vulgarly, and corruptly uttered; and their 
maps of India are crowded with appellations which bear no similitude whatever 
either to past or present denominations. We need not wonder that we cannot 
discover Sanskrit names in English maps, when, in the immediate vicinity of 
Calcutta, Barnagore represents Barahanagar, Dakshineswar is metamorphosed 
into Duckinsore, Ulubarfa into Willoughbury.... There is scarcely a name in 
our Indian maps that does not afford proof of extreme indifference to accuracy 
in nomenclature, and of an incorrectness in estimating sounds, which is, in 
some degree, perhaps, a national defect." 

For further information regarding the road from Ayodhya to Rajagriha, see 

Canto LXIX. Bharat's Dream. 617 

Canto LXIX. Bharat's Dream. 

The night those messengers of state 

Had past within the city's gate, 

In dreams the slumbering Bharat saw 

A sight that chilled his soul with awe. 

The dream that dire events foretold 

Left Bharat's heart with horror cold, [177] 

And with consuming woes distraught, 

Upon his aged sire he thought. 

His dear companions, swift to trace 

The signs of anguish on his face, 

Drew near, his sorrow to expel, 

And pleasant tales began to tell. 

Some woke sweet music's cheering sound, 

And others danced in lively round. 

With joke and jest they strove to raise 

His spirits, quoting ancient plays; 

But Bharat still, the lofty-souled, 

Deaf to sweet tales his fellows told, 

Unmoved by music, dance, and jest, 

Sat silent, by his woe oppressed. 

To him, begirt by comrades near, 

Thus spoke the friend he held most dear: 

"Why ringed around by friends, art thou 

So silent and so mournful now?" 

"Hear thou," thus Bharat made reply, 

"What chills my heart and dims mine eye. 

I dreamt I saw the king my sire 

Sink headlong in a lake of mire 

Down from a mountain high in air, 

His body soiled, and loose his hair. 

Additional Notes. 

618 The Ramayana 

Upon the miry lake he seemed 

To lie and welter, as I dreamed; 

With hollowed hands full many a draught 

Of oil he took, and loudly laughed. 

With head cast down I saw him make 

A meal on sesamum and cake; 

The oil from every member dripped, 

And in its clammy flood he dipped. 

The ocean's bed was bare and dry, 

The moon had fallen from the sky, 

And all the world lay still and dead, 

With whelming darkness overspread. 

The earth was rent and opened wide, 

The leafy trees were scorched, and died; 

I saw the seated mountains split, 

And wreaths of rising smoke emit. 

The stately beast the monarch rode 

His long tusks rent and splintered showed; 

And flames that quenched and cold had lain 

Blazed forth with kindled light again. 

I looked, and many a handsome dame, 

Arrayed in brown and sable came 

And bore about the monarch, dressed, 

On iron stool, in sable vest. 

And then the king, of virtuous mind, 

A blood-red wreath around him twined, 

Forth on an ass-drawn chariot sped, 

As southward still he bent his head. 

Then, crimson-clad, a dame appeared 

Who at the monarch laughed and jeered; 

And a she-monster, dire to view, 

Her hand upon his body threw. 

Such is the dream I dreamt by night, 

Which chills me yet with wild affright: 

Canto LXX. Bharat's Departure. 619 

Either the king or Rama, I 

Or Lakshman now must surely die. 

For when an ass-drawn chariot seems 

To bear away a man in dreams, 

Be sure above his funeral pyre 

The smoke soon rears its cloudy spire. 

This makes my spirit low and weak, 

My tongue is slow and loth to speak: 

My lips and throat are dry for dread, 

And all my soul disquieted. 

My lips, relaxed, can hardly speak, 

And chilling dread has changed my cheek 

I blame myself in aimless fears, 

And still no cause of blame appears. 

I dwell upon this dream of ill 

Whose changing scenes I viewed, 
And on the startling horror still 

My troubled thoughts will brood. 
Still to my soul these terrors cling, 

Reluctant to depart, 
And the strange vision of the king 

Still weighs upon my heart." 

Canto LXX. Bharat's Departure. 

While thus he spoke, the envoys borne 
On horses faint and travel-worn 
Had gained the city fenced around 
With a deep moat's protecting bound. 
An audience of the king they gained, 
And honours from the prince obtained; 

620 The Ramayana 

The monarch's feet they humbly pressed, 
To Bharat next these words addressed: 
"The household priest and peers by us 
Send health to thee and greet thee thus: 
"Come to thy father's house with haste: 
Thine absent time no longer waste." 
Receive these vestures rich and rare, 
These costly gems and jewels fair, 
And to thy uncle here present 
Each precious robe and ornament. 
These for the king and him suffice — 
Two hundred millions is their price — 
These, worth a hundred millions, be 
Reserved, O large-eyed Prince, for thee." 

Loving his friends with heart and soul, 
The joyful prince received the whole, 
Due honour to the envoys paid, 
And thus in turn his answer made: 
"Of Dasaratha tidings tell: 
Is the old king my father well? 
Is Rama, and is Lakshman, he 
Of the high-soul, from sickness free? 
And she who walks where duty leads, 
Kausalya, known for gracious deeds, 
Mother of Rama, loving spouse, 
Bound to her lord by well kept vows? 
And Lakshman's mother too, the dame 
Sumitra skilled in duty's claim, 
Who brave Satrughna also bare, 
[178] Second in age, — her health declare. 

And she, in self-conceit most sage, 
With selfish heart most prone to rage, 
My mother, fares she well? has she 

Canto LXX. Bharat's Departure. 621 

Sent message or command to me?" 

Thus Bharat spake, the mighty-souled, 
And they in brief their tidings told: 
"All they of whom thou askest dwell, 
O lion lord, secure and well: 
Thine all the smiles of fortune are: 
Make ready; let them yoke the car." 

Thus by the royal envoys pressed, 
Bharat again the band addressed: 
"I go with you: no long delay, 
A single hour I bid you stay." 
Thus Bharat, son of him who swayed 
Ayodhyas realm, his answer made, 
And then bespoke, his heart to please, 
His mother's sire in words like these: 
"I go to see my father, King, 
Urged by the envoys' summoning; 
And when thy soul desires to see 
Thy grandson, will return to thee." 

The king his grandsire kissed his head, 
And in reply to Bharat said: 
"Go forth, dear child: how blest is she, 
The mother of a son like thee! 
Greet well thy sire, thy mother greet, 
O thou whose arms the foe defeat; 
The household priest, and all the rest 
Amid the Twice-born chief and best; 
And Rama and brave Lakshman, who 
Shoot the long shaft with aim so true." 

622 The Ramayana 

To him the king high honour showed, 
And store of wealth and gifts bestowed, 
The choicest elephants to ride, 
And skins and blankets deftly dyed, 
A thousand strings of golden beads, 
And sixteen hundred mettled steeds: 
And boundless wealth before him piled 
Gave Kekaya to Kaikeyi's child. 
And men of counsel, good and tried, 
On whose firm truth he aye relied, 
King Asvapati gave with speed 
Prince Bharat on his way to lead. 
And noble elephants, strong and young, 
From sires of Indrasira sprung, 
And others tall and fair to view 
Of great Airavat's lineage true: 
And well yoked asses fleet of limb 
The prince his uncle gave to him. 
And dogs within the palace bred, 
Of body vast and massive head, 
With mighty fangs for battle, brave, 
The tiger's match in strength, he gave. 
Yet Bharat's bosom hardly glowed 
To see the wealth the king bestowed; 
For he would speed that hour away, 
Such care upon his bosom lay: 
Those eager envoys urged him thence, 
And that sad vision's influence. 
He left his court-yard, crowded then 
With elephants and steeds and men, 
And, peerless in immortal fame, 
To the great royal street he came. 
He saw, as farther still he went, 
The inner rooms most excellent, 

Canto LXXI. Bharat's Return. 623 

And passed the doors, to him unclosed, 

Where check nor bar his way oppossd. 

There Bharat stayed to bid adieu 

To grandsire and to uncle too, 

Then, with Satrughna by his side, 

Mounting his car, away he hied. 

The strong-wheeled cars were yoked, and they 

More than a hundred, rolled away: 

Servants, with horses, asses, kine, 

Followed their lord in endless line. 

So, guarded by his own right hand, 

Forth high-souled Bharat hied, 
Surrounded by a lordly band 

On whom the king relied. 
Beside him sat Satrughna dear, 

The scourge of trembling foes: 
Thus from the light of Indra's sphere 

A saint made perfect goes. 

Canto LXXI. Bharat's Return. 

Then Bharat's face was eastward bent 
As from the royal town he went. 
He reached Sudama's farther side, 
And glorious, gazed upon the tide; 
Passed Hladini, and saw her toss 
Her westering billows hard to cross. 
Then old Ikshvaku's famous son 
O'er Satadrii 348 his passage won, 

348 "-pjjg satadrii, 'the hundred-channeled' — the Zaradrus of Ptolemy, Hesydrus 
of Pliny— is the Sutlej." WILSON'SJFNS Vishnu Parana, Vol. II. p. 130. 

624 The Ramayana 

Near Ailadhana on the strand, 
And came to Aparparyat's land. 
O'er Sila's flood he hurried fast, 
Akurvati's fair stream he passed, 
Crossed o'er Agneya's rapid rill, 
And Salyakartan onward still. 
Silavaha's swift stream he eyed, 
True to his vows and purified, 
Then crossed the lofty hills, and stood 
In Chaitraratha's mighty wood. 
He reached the confluence where meet 
Sarasvati 349 and Ganga fleet, 
And through Bharunda forest, spread 
Northward of Viramatsya, sped. 
[179] He sought Kalinda's child, who fills 

The soul with joy, begirt by hills, 
Reached Yamuna, and passing o'er, 
Rested his army on the shore: 
He gave his horses food and rest, 
Bathed reeking limb and drooping crest. 
They drank their fill and bathed them there, 
And water for their journey bare. 
Thence through a mighty wood he sped 
All wild and uninhabited, 
As in fair chariot through the skies, 
Most fair in shape a Storm-God flies. 
At Ansudhana Ganga, hard 
To cross, his onward journey barred, 
So turning quickly thence he came 
To Pragvat's city dear to fame. 
There having gained the farther side 
To Kutikoshtika he hied: 

349 The Sarasvati or Sursooty is a tributary of the Caggar or Guggur in Sirhind. 

Canto LXXI. Bharat's Return. 625 

The stream he crossed, and onward then 
To Dharmavardhan brought his men. 
Thence, leaving Toran on the north, 
To Jambuprastha journeyed forth. 
Then onward to a pleasant grove 
By fair Variifha's town he drove, 
And when a while he there had stayed, 
Went eastward from the friendly shade. 
Eastward of Ujjihana where 
The Priyak trees are tall and fair, 
He passed, and rested there each steed 
Exhausted with the journey's speed. 
There orders to his men addressed, 
With quickened pace he onward pressed, 
A while at Sarvatirtha spent, 
Then o'er Uttanika he went. 
O'er many a stream beside he sped 
With coursers on the mountains bred, 
And passing Hastiprishthak, took 
The road o'er Kutika's fair brook. 
Then, at Lohitya's village, he 
Crossed o'er the swift Kapivati, 
Then passed, where Ekasala stands, 
The Sthanumati's flood and sands, 
And Gomati of fair renown 
By Vinata's delightful town. 
When to Kalinga near he drew, 
A wood of Sal trees charmed the view; 
That passed, the sun began to rise, 
And Bharat saw with happy eyes, 
Ayodhya's city, built and planned 
By ancient Manu's royal hand. 
Seven nights upon the road had passed, 
And when he saw the town at last 

626 The Ramayana 

Before him in her beauty spread, 

Thus Bharat to the driver said: 

"This glorious city from afar, 

Wherein pure groves and gardens are, 

Seems to my eager eyes to-day 

A lifeless pile of yellow clay. 

Through all her streets where erst a throng 

Of men and women streamed along, 

Uprose the multitudinous roar: 

To-day I hear that sound no more. 

No longer do mine eyes behold 

The leading people, as of old, 

On elephants, cars, horses, go 

Abroad and homeward, to and fro. 

The brilliant gardens, where we heard 

The wild note of each rapturous bird, 

Where men and women loved to meet, 

In pleasant shades, for pastime sweet, — 

These to my eyes this day appear 

Joyless, and desolate, and drear: 

Each tree that graced the garden grieves, 

And every path is spread with leaves. 

The merry cry of bird and beast, 

That spake aloud their joy, has ceased: 

Still is the long melodious note 

That charmed us from each warbling throat. 

Why blows the blessed air no more, 

The incense-breathing air that bore 

Its sweet incomparable scent 

Of sandal and of aloe blent? 

Why are the drum and tabour mute? 

Why is the music of the lute 

That woke responsive to the quill, 

Loved by the happy, hushed and still? 

Canto LXXI. Bharat's Return. 627 

My boding spirit gathers hence 
Dire sins of awful consequence, 
And omens, crowding on my sight, 
Weigh down my soul with wild affright. 
Scarce shall I find my friends who dwell 
Here in Ayodhya safe and well: 
For surely not without a cause 
This crushing dread my soul o'erawes." 

Heart sick, dejected, every sense 
Confused by terror's influence, 
On to the town he quickly swept 
Which King Ikshvaku's children kept. 
He passed through Vaijayanta's gate, 
With weary steeds, disconsolate, 
And all who near their station held, 
His escort, crying Victory, swelled, 
With heart distracted still he bowed 
Farewell to all the following crowd, 
Turned to the driver and began 
To question thus the weary man: 
"Why was I brought, O free from blame, 
So fast, unknown for what I came? 
Yet fear of ill my heart appals, 
And all my wonted courage falls. 
For I have heard in days gone by 
The changes seen when monarchs die; 
And all those signs, O charioteer, 
I see to-day surround me here: 
Each kinsman's house looks dark and grim, 
No hand delights to keep it trim: 
The beauty vanished, and the pride, 
The doors, unkept, stand open wide. 
No morning rites are offered there, 

628 The Ramayana 

No grateful incense loads the air, 
And all therein, with brows o'ercast, 
Sit joyless on the ground and fast. 
[180] Their lovely chaplets dry and dead, 

Their courts unswept, with dust o'erspread, 
The temples of the Gods to-day 
No more look beautiful and gay. 
Neglected stands each holy shrine, 
Each image of a Lord divine. 
No shop where flowery wreaths are sold 
Is bright and busy as of old. 
The women and the men I mark 
Absorbed in fancies dull and dark, 
Their gloomy eyes with tears bedewed, 
A poor afflicted multitude." 

His mind oppressed with woe and dread, 
Thus Bharat to his driver said, 
Viewed the dire signs Ayodhya showed, 
And onward to the palace rode. 

Canto LXXII. Bharat's Inquiry. 

He entered in, he looked around, 
Nor in the house his father found; 
Then to his mother's dwelling, bent 
To see her face, he quickly went. 
She saw her son, so long away, 
Returning after many a day, 
And from her golden seat in joy 
Sprung forward to her darling boy. 

Canto LXXII. Bharat's Inquiry. 629 

Within the bower, no longer bright, 
Came Bharat lover of the right, 
And bending with observance sweet 
Clasped his dear mother's lovely feet. 
Long kisses on his brow she pressed, 
And held her hero to her breast, 
Then fondly drew him to her knees, 
And questioned him in words like these: 
"How many nights have fled, since thou 
Leftest thy grandsire's home, till now? 
By flying steeds so swiftly borne, 
Art thou not weak and travel-worn? 
How fares the king my father, tell: 
Is Yudhajit thine uncle well? 
And now, my son, at length declare 
The pleasure of the visit there." 

Thus to the offspring of the king 
She spake with tender questioning, 
And to his mother made reply 
Young Bharat of the lotus eye: 
"The seventh night has come and fled 
Since from my grandsire's home I sped: 
My mother's sire is well, and he, 
Yudhajit, from all trouble free. 
The gold and every precious thing 
Presented by the conqueror king, 
The slower guards behind convey: 
I left them weary on the way. 
Urged by the men my father sent, 
My hasty course I hither bent: 
Now, I implore, an answer deign, 
And all I wish to know, explain. 
Unoccupied I now behold 

630 The Ramayana 

This couch of thine adorned with gold, 
And each of King Ikshvaku's race 
Appears with dark and gloomy face. 
The king is aye, my mother dear, 
Most constant in his visits here. 
To meet my sire I sought this spot: 
How is it that I find him not? 
I long to clasp my father's feet: 
Say where he lingers, I entreat. 
Perchance the monarch may be seen 
Where dwells Kausalya, eldest queen." 

His father's fate, from him concealed, 
Kaikeyi to her son revealed: 
Told as glad news the story sad, 
For lust of sway had made her mad: 
"Thy father, O my darling, know, 
Has gone the way all life must go: 
Devout and famed, of lofty thought, 
In whom the good their refuge sought." 

When Bharat pious, pure, and true, 
Heard the sad words which pierced him through, 
Grieved for the sire he loved so well 
Prostrate upon the ground he fell: 
Down fell the strong-armed hero, high 
Tossing his arms, and a sad cry, 
"Ah, woe is me, unhappy, slain!" 
Burst from his lips again, again, 
Afflicted for his father's fate 
By griefs intolerable weight, 
With every sense amazed and cowed 
The splendid hero wailed aloud: 
"Ah me, my royal father's bed 

Canto LXXII. Bharat's Inquiry. 63 1 

Of old a gentle radiance shed, 

Like the pure sky when clouds are past, 

And the moon's light is o'er it cast: 

Ah, of its wisest lord bereft, 

It shows to-day faint radiance left, 

As when the moon has left the sky. 

Or mighty Ocean's depths are dry." 

With choking sobs, with many a tear, 
Pierced to the heart with grief sincere, 
The best of conquerors poured his sighs, 
And with his robe veiled face and eyes. 
Kaikeyi saw him fallen there, 
Godlike, afflicted, in despair, 
Used every art to move him thence, 
And tried him thus with eloquence: 
"Arise, arise, my dearest; why 
Wilt thou, famed Prince, so lowly lie? 
Not by such grief as this are moved 
Good men like thee, by all approved. 
The earth thy father nobly swayed, 
And rites to Heaven he duly paid. 
At length his race of life was run: 
Thou shouldst not mourn for him, my son." 

Long on the ground he wept, and rolled 
From side to side, still unconsoled, 
And then, with bitter grief oppressed, 
His mother with these words addressed: [181] 

632 The Ramayana 

"This joyful hope my bosom fed 
When from my grandsire's halls I sped — 
"The king will throne his eldest son, 
And sacrifice, as should be done." 
But all is changed, my hope was vain, 
And this sad heart is rent in twain, 
For my dear father's face I miss, 
Who ever sought his loved ones' bliss. 
But in my absence, mother, say, 
What sickness took my sire away? 
Ah, happy Rama, happy they 
Allowed his funeral rites to pay ! 
The glorious monarch has not learned 
That I his darling have returned, 
Or quickly had he hither sped, 
And pressed his kisses on my head. 
Where is that hand whose gentle touch, 
Most soft and kind I loved so much, 
The hand that loved to brush away 
The dust that on his darling lay? 
Quick, bear the news to Rama's ear; 
Tell the great chief that I am here: 
Brother, and sire, and friend, and all 
Is he, and I his trusty thrall. 
For noble hearts, to virtue true, 
Their sires in elder brothers view. 
To clasp his feet I fain would bow: 
He is my hope and refuge now. 
What said my glorious sire, who knew 
Virtue and vice, so brave and true? 
Firm in his vows, dear lady, say, 
What said he ere he passed away? 
What was his rede to me? I crave 
To hear the last advice he gave." 

Canto LXXII. Bharat's Inquiry. 633 

Thus closely questioned by the youth, 
Kaikeyi spoke the mournful truth: 
"The high-souled monarch wept and sighed, 
For Rama, Sita, Lakshman, cried, 
Then, best of all who go to bliss, 
Passed to the world which follows this. 
"Ah, blessed are the people who 
Shall Rama and his Sita view, 
And Lakshman of the mighty arm, 
Returning free from scathe and harm." 
Such were the words, the last of all, 
Thy father, ere he died, let fall, 
By Fate and Death's dread coils enwound, 
As some great elephant is bound." 

He heard, yet deeper in despair, 
Her lips this double woe declare, 
And with sad brow that showed his pain 
Questioned his mother thus again: 
"But where is he, of virtue tried, 
Who fills Kausalya's heart with pride, 
Where is the noble Rama? where 
Is Lakshman brave, and Sita fair?" 

Thus pressed, the queen began to tell 
The story as each thing befell, 
And gave her son in words like these, 
The mournful news she meant to please: 
"The prince is gone in hermit dress 
To Dandak's mighty wilderness, 
And Lakshman brave and Sita share 
The wanderings of the exile there." 

634 The Ramayana 

Then Bharat's soul with fear was stirred 
Lest Rama from the right had erred, 
And jealous for ancestral fame, 
He put this question to the dame: 
"Has Rama grasped with lawless hold 
A Brahman's house, or land, or gold? 
Has Rama harmed with ill intent 
Some poor or wealthy innocent? 
Was Rama, faithless to his vows, 
Enamoured of anothers spouse? 
Why was he sent to Dandak's wild, 
Like one who kills an unborn child?" 

He questioned thus: and she began 
To tell her deeds and crafty plan. 
Deceitful-hearted, fond, and blind 
As is the way of womankind: 
"No Brahman's wealth has Rama seized, 
No dame his wandering fancy pleased; 
His very eyes he ne'er allows 
To gaze upon a neighbour's spouse. 
But when I heard the monarch planned 
To give the realm to Rama's hand, 
I prayed that Rama hence might flee, 
And claimed the throne, my son, for thee. 
The king maintained the name he bare, 
And did according to my prayer, 
And Rama, with his brother, sent, 
And Sita, forth to banishment. 
When his dear son was seen no more, 
The lord of earth was troubled sore: 
Too feeble with his grief to strive, 
He joined the elemental Five. 
Up then, most dutiful! maintain 

Canto LXXIII. Kaikeyi Reproached. 635 

The royal state, arise, and reign. 

For thee, my darling son, for thee 

All this was planned and wrought by me. 

Come, cast thy grief and pain aside, 

With manly courage fortified. 

This town and realm are all thine own, 

And fear and grief are here unknown. 

Come, with Vasishtha's guiding aid, 

And priests in ritual skilled 
Let the king's funeral dues be paid, 

And every claim fulfilled. 
Perform his obsequies with all 

That suits his rank and worth, 
Then give the mandate to install 

Thyself as lord of earth." 

Canto LXXIII. Kaikeyi Reproached. 

But when he heard the queen relate 

His brothers' doom, his father's fate, 

Thus Bharat to his mother said 

With burning grief disquieted: [182] 

"Alas, what boots it now to reign, 

Struck down by grief and well-nigh slain? 

Ah, both are gone, my sire, and he 

Who was a second sire to me. 

Grief upon grief thy hand has made, 

And salt upon gashes laid: 

For my dear sire has died through thee, 

And Rama roams a devotee. 

Thou earnest like the night of Fate 

636 The Ramayana 

This royal house to devastate. 
Unwitting ill, my hapless sire 
Placed in his bosom coals of fire, 
And through thy crimes his death he met, 
O thou whose heart on sin is set. 
Shame of thy house! thy senseless deed 
Has reft all joy from Raghu's seed. 
The truthful monarch, dear to fame, 
Received thee as his wedded dame, 
And by thy act to misery doomed 
Has died by flames of grief consumed. 
Kausalya and Sumitra too 
The coming of my mother rue, 
And if they live oppressed by woe, 
For their dear sons their sad tears flow. 
Was he not ever good and kind, — 
That hero of the duteous mind? 
Skilled in all filial duties, he 
As a dear mother treated thee. 
Kausalya too, the eldest queen, 
Who far foresees with insight keen, 
Did she not ever show thee all 
A sister's love at duty's call? 
And hast thou from the kingdom chased 
Her son, with bark around his waist, 
To the wild wood, to dwell therein, 
And dost not sorrow for thy sin? 
The love I bare to Raghu's son 
Thou knewest not, ambitious one, 
If thou hast wrought this impious deed 
For royal sway, in lawless greed. 
With him and Lakshman far away, 
What power have I the realm to sway? 
What hope will fire my bosom when 

Canto LXXIII. Kaikeyi Reproached. 637 

I see no more these lords of men? 

The holy king, who loved the right 

Relied on Rama's power and might, 

His guardian and his glory, so 

Joys Meru in his woods below. 

How can I bear, a steer untrained, 

The load his mightier strength sustained? 

What power have I to brook alone 

This weight on feeble shoulders thrown? 

But if the needful power were bought 

By strength of mind and brooding thought, 

No triumph shall attend the dame 

Who dooms her son to lasting shame. 

Now should no doubt that son prevent 

From quitting thee on evil bent. 

But Rama's love o'erpowers my will, 

Who holds thee as his mother still. 

Whence did the thought, O thou whose eyes 

Are turned to sinful deeds, arise — 

A plan our ancient sires would hate, 

O fallen from thy virtuous state? 

For in the line from which we spring 

The eldest is anointed king: 

No monarchs from the rule decline, 

And, least of all, Ikshvaku's line. 

Our holy sires, to virtue true, 

Upon our race a lustre threw, 

But with subversive frenzy thou 

Hast marred our lineal honour now, 

Of lofty birth, a noble line 

Of previous kings is also thine: 

Then whence this hated folly? whence 

This sudden change that steals thy sense? 

Thou shalt not gain thine impious will, 

638 The Ramayana 

O thou whose thoughts are bent on ill, 
Thou from whose guilty hand descend 
These sinful blows my life to end. 
Now to the forest will I go, 
Thy cherished plans to overthrow, 
And bring my brother, free from stain, 
His people's darling, home again. 
And Rama, when again he turns, 
Whose glory like a beacon burns, 
In me a faithful slave shall find 
To serve him with contented mind." 

Canto LXXIV. Bharat's Lament. 

When Bharat's anger-sharpened tongue 
Reproaches on the queen had flung, 
Again, with mighty rage possessed, 
The guilty dame he thus addressed: 
"Flee, cruel, wicked sinner, flee, 
Let not this kingdom harbour thee. 
Thou who hast thrown all right aside, 
Weep thou for me when I have died. 
Canst thou one charge against the king, 
Or the most duteous Rama bring? 
The one thy sin to death has sent, 
The other chased to banishment. 
Our line's destroyer, sin defiled 
Like one who kills an unborn child, 
Ne'er with thy lord in heaven to dwell, 
Thy portion shall be down in hell 
Because thy hand, that stayed for naught, 

Canto LXXIV. Bharat's Lament. 639 

This awful wickedness has wrought, 

And ruined him whom all held dear, 

My bosom too is stirred with fear. 

My father by thy sin is dead, 

And Rama to the wood is fled; 

And of thy deed I bear the stain, 

And fameless in the world remain. 

Ambitious, evil-souled, in show 

My mother, yet my direst foe. 

My throning ne'er thine eyes shall bless, 

Thy husband's wicked murderess. [183] 

Thou art not Asvapati's child, 

That righteous king most sage and mild, 

But thou wast born a fiend, a foe 

My father's house to overthrow. 

Thou who hast made Kausalya, pure, 

Gentle, affectionate, endure 

The loss of him who was her bliss, — 

What worlds await thee, Queen, for this? 

Was it not patent to thy sense 

That Rama was his friends' defence, 

Kausalya's own true child most dear, 

The eldest and his father's peer? 

Men in the son not only trace 

The father's figure, form, and face, 

But in his heart they also find 

The offspring of the father's mind; 

And hence, though dear their kinsmen are, 

To mothers sons are dearer far. 

There goes an ancient legend how 

Good Surabhi, the God-loved cow, 

Saw two of her dear children strain, 

Drawing a plough and faint with pain. 

She saw them on the earth outworn, 

640 The Ramayana 

Toiling till noon from early morn, 
And as she viewed her children's woe, 
A flood of tears began to flow. 
As through the air beneath her swept 
The Lord of Gods, the drops she wept, 
Fine, laden with delicious smell, 
Upon his heavenly body fell. 
And Indra lifted up his eyes 
And saw her standing in the skies, 
Afflicted with her sorrow's weight, 
Sad, weeping, all disconsolate. 
The Lord of Gods in anxious mood 
Thus spoke in suppliant attitude: 
"No fear disturbs our rest, and how 
Come this great dread upon thee now? 
Whence can this woe upon thee fall, 
Say, gentle one who lovest all?" 

Thus spake the God who rules the skies, 
Indra, the Lord supremely wise; 
And gentle Surabhi, well learned 
In eloquence, this speech returned: 
"Not thine the fault, great God, not thine 
And guiltless are the Lords divine: 
I mourn two children faint with toil, 
Labouring hard in stubborn soil. 
Wasted and sad I see them now, 
While the sun beats on neck and brow, 
Still goaded by the cruel hind, — 
No pity in his savage mind. 
O Indra, from this body sprang 
These children, worn with many a pang. 
For this sad sight I mourn, for none 
Is to the mother like her son." 

Canto LXXIV. Bharat's Lament. 641 

He saw her weep whose offspring feed 
In thousands over hill and mead, 
And knew that in a mother's eye 
Naught with a son, for love, can vie. 
He deemed her, when the tears that came 
From her sad eyes bedewed his frame, 
Laden with their celestial scent, 
Of living things most excellent. 
If she these tears of sorrow shed 
Who many a thousand children bred, 
Think what a life of woe is left 
Kausalya, of her Rama reft. 
An only son was hers and she 
Is rendered childless now by thee. 
Here and hereafter, for thy crime, 
Woe is thy lot through endless time. 
And now, O Queen, without delay, 
With all due honour will I pay 
Both to my brother and my sire 
The rites their several fates require. 
Back to Ayodhya will I bring 
The long-armed chief, her lord and king, 
And to the wood myself betake 
Where hermit saints their dwelling make. 
For, sinner both in deed and thought! 
This hideous crime which thou hast wrought 
I cannot bear, or live to see 
The people's sad eyes bent on me. 
Begone, to Dandak wood retire, 
Or cast thy body to the fire, 
Or bind around thy neck the rope: 
No other refuge mayst thou hope. 
When Rama, lord of valour true, 
Has gained the earth, his right and due, 

642 The Ramayana 

Then, free from duty's binding debt, 
My vanished sin shall I forget." 

Thus like an elephant forced to brook 
The goading of the driver's hook, 
Quick panting like a serpent maimed, 
He fell to earth with rage inflamed. 

Canto LXXV. The Abjuration. 

A while he lay: he rose at length, 

And slowly gathering sense and strength, 

With angry eyes which tears bedewed, 

The miserable queen he viewed, 

And spake with keen reproach to her 

Before each lord and minister: 

"No lust have I for kingly sway, 

My mother I no more obey: 

Naught of this consecration knew 

Which Dasaratha kept in view. 

I with Satrughna all the time 

Was dwelling in a distant clime: 

I knew of Rama's exile naught, 

That hero of the noble thought: 

I knew not how fair Sita went, 

And Lakshman, forth to banishment." 

Canto LXXV. The Abjuration. 643 

Thus high-souled Bharat, mid the crowd, 
Lifted his voice and cried aloud. 
Kausalya heard, she raised her head, 
And quickly to Sumitra said: 
"Bharat, Kaikeyfs son is here, — 
Hers whose fell deeds I loathe and fear: 
That youth of foresight keen I fain 
Would meet and see his face again." 
Thus to Sumitra spake the dame, 
And straight to Bharat's presence came 
With altered mien, neglected dress, 
Trembling and faint with sore distress. 
Bharat, Satrughna by his side, 
To meet her, toward her palace hied. 
And when the royal dame they viewed 
Distressed with dire solicitude, 
Sad, fallen senseless on the ground, 
About her neck their arms they wound. 
The noble matron prostrate there, 
Embraced, with tears, the weeping pair, 
And with her load of grief oppressed, 
To Bharat then these words addressed: 
"Now all is thine, without a foe, 
This realm for which thou longest so. 
Ah, soon Kaikeyfs ruthless hand 
Has won the empire of the land, 
And made my guiltless Rama flee 
Dressed like some lonely devotee. 
Herein what profit has the queen, 
Whose eye delights in havoc, seen? 
Me also, me 'twere surely good 
To banish to the distant wood, 
To dwell amid the shades that hold 
My famous son with limbs like gold. 

644 The Ramayana 

Nay, with the sacred fire to guide, 
Will I, Sumitra by my side, 
Myself to the drear wood repair 
And seek the son of Raghu there. 
This land which rice and golden corn 
And wealth of every kind adorn, 
Car, elephant, and steed, and gem, — 
She makes thee lord of it and them." 

With taunts like these her bitter tongue 
The heart of blameless Bharat wrung 
And direr pangs his bosom tore 
Than when the lancet probes a sore. 
With troubled senses all astray 
Prone at her feet he fell and lay. 
With loud lament a while he plained, 
And slowly strength and sense regained. 
With suppliant hand to hand applied 
He turned to her who wept and sighed, 
And thus bespake the queen, whose breast 
With sundry woes was sore distressed: 
"Why these reproaches, noble dame? 
I, knowing naught, am free from blame. 
Thou knowest well what love was mine 
For Rama, chief of Raghu's line. 
O, never be his darkened mind 
To Scripture's guiding lore inclined, 
By whose consent the prince who led 
The good, the truthful hero, fled. 
May he obey the vilest lord, 
Offend the sun with act abhorred, 350 
And strike a sleeping cow, who lent 

350 Suryamcha pratimehatu, adversus solem mingat. An offence expressly 
forbidden by the Laws of Manu. 

Canto LXXV. The Abjuration. 645 

His voice to Rama's banishment. 
May the good king who all befriends, 
And, like his sons, the people tends, 
Be wronged by him who gave consent 
To noble Rama's banishment. 
On him that king's injustice fall, 
Who takes, as lord, a sixth of all, 
Nor guards, neglectful of his trust, 
His people, as a ruler must. 
The crime of those who swear to fee, 
At holy rites, some devotee, 
And then the promised gift deny, 
Be his who willed the prince should fly. 
When weapons clash and heroes bleed, 
With elephant and harnessed steed, 
Ne'er, like the good, be his to fight 
Whose heart allowed the prince's flight. 
Though taught with care by one expert 
May he the Veda's text pervert, 
With impious mind on evil bent, 
Whose voice approved the banishment. 
May he with traitor lips reveal 
Whate'er he promised to conceal, 
And bruit abroad his friend's offence, 
Betrayed by generous confidence. 
No wife of equal lineage born 
The wretch's joyless home adorn: 
Ne'er may he do one virtuous deed, 
And dying see no child succeed. 
When in the battle's awful day 
Fierce warriors stand in dread array, 
Let the base coward turn and fly, 
And smitten by the foeman, die. 
Long may he wander, rags his wear, 

646 The Ramayana 

Doomed in his hand a skull to bear, 
And like an idiot beg his bread, 
Who gave consent when Rama fled. 
His sin who holy rites forgets, 
Asleep when shows the sun and sets, 
A load upon his soul shall lie 
Whose will allowed the prince to fly. 
His sin who loves his Master's dame, 
His, kindler of destructive flame, 
His who betrays his trusting friend 
Shall, mingled all, on him descend. 
By him no reverence due be paid 
To blessed God or parted shade: 
May sire and mother's sacred name 
In vain from him obedience claim. 
Ne'er may he go where dwell the good, 
Nor win their fame and neighbourhood, 
But lose all hopes of bliss to-day, 
Who willed the prince should flee away. 
May he deceive the poor and weak 
[185] Who look to him and comfort seek, 

Betray the suppliants who complain, 
And make the hopeful hope in vain. 
Long may his wife his kiss expect, 
And pine away in cold neglect. 
May he his lawful love despise, 
And turn on other dames his eyes, 
Fool, on forbidden joys intent, 
Whose will allowed the banishment. 
His sin who deadly poison throws 
To spoil the water as it flows, 
Lay on the wretch its burden dread 
Who gave consent when Rama fled." 351 

351 Bharat does not intend these curses for any particular person: he merely 

Canto LXXV. The Abjuration. 647 

Thus with his words he undeceived 
Kausalya's troubled heart, who grieved 
For son and husband reft away; 
Then prostrate on the ground he lay. 
Him as he lay half-senseless there, 
Freed by the mighty oaths he sware, 
Kausalya, by her woe distressed, 
With melancholy words addressed: 
"Anew, my son, this sorrow springs 
To rend my heart with keener stings: 
These awful oaths which thou hast sworn 
My breast with double grief have torn. 
Thy soul, and faithful Lakshman's too, 
Are still, thank Heaven! to virtue true. 
True to thy promise, thou shalt gain 
The mansions which the good obtain." 

Then to her breast that youth she drew, 
Whose sweet fraternal love she knew, 
And there in strict embraces held 
The hero, as her tears outwelled. 
And Bharat's heart grew sick and faint 
With grief and oft-renewed complaint, 
And all his senses were distraught 
By the great woe that in him wrought. 
Thus he lay and still bewailed 

With sighs and loud lament 
Till all his strength and reason failed, 

The hours of night were spent. 

wishes to prove his own innocence by invoking them on his own head if he 
had any share in banishing Rama. 

648 The Ramayana 

Canto LXXVI. The Funeral. 

The saint Vasishtha, best of all 
Whose words with moving wisdom fall, 
Bharat, Kaikeyi's son, addressed, 
Whom burning fires of grief distressed: 
"O Prince, whose fame is widely spread, 
Enough of grief: be comforted. 
The time is come: arise, and lay 
Upon the pyre the monarch's clay." 

He heard the words Vasishtha spoke, 
And slumbering resolution woke. 
Then skilled in all the laws declare, 
He bade his friends the rites prepare. 
They raised the body from the oil, 
And placed it, dripping, on the soil; 
Then laid it on a bed, whereon 
Wrought gold and precious jewels shone. 
There, pallor o'er his features spread, 
The monarch, as in sleep, lay dead. 
Then Bharat sought his father's side, 
And lifted up his voice and cried: 
"O King, and has thy heart designed 
To part and leave thy son behind? 
Make Rama flee, who loves the right, 
And Lakshman of the arm of might? 
Whither, great Monarch, wilt thou go 
And leave this people in their woe, 
Mourning their hero, wild with grief, 
Of Rama reft, their lion chief? 
Ah, who will guard the people well 
Who in Ayodhya's city dwell, 
When thou, my sire, hast sought the sky, 

Canto LXXVI. The Funeral. 649 

And Rama has been forced to fly? 
In widowed woe, bereft of thee, 
The land no more is fair to see: 
The city, to my aching sight, 
Is gloomy as a moonless night." 

Thus, with o'erwhelming sorrow pained, 
Sad Bharat by the bed complained: 
And thus Vasishtha, holy sage, 
Spoke his deep anguish to assuage: 
"O Lord of men, no longer stay; 
The last remaining duties pay: 
Haste, mighty-armed, as I advise, 
The funeral rites to solemnize." 

And Bharat heard Vasishtha's rede 
With due attention and agreed. 
He summoned straight from every side 
Chaplain, and priest, and holy guide. 
The sacred fires he bade them bring 
Forth from the chapel of the king, 
Wherein the priests in order due, 
And ministers, the offerings threw. 
Distraught in mind, with sob and tear, 
They laid the body on a bier, 
And servants, while their eyes brimmed o'er 
The monarch from the palace bore. 
Another band of mourners led 
The long procession of the dead: 
Rich garments in the way they cast, 
And gold and silver, as they passed. 
Then other hands the corse bedewed 
With fragrant juices that exude 
From sandal, cedar, aloe, pine, 

650 The Ramayana 

And every perfume rare and fine. 
Then priestly hands the mighty dead 
Upon the pyre deposited. 
The sacred fires they tended next, 
And muttered low each funeral text; 
[186] And priestly singers who rehearse 

The Saman 352 sang their holy verse. 
Forth from the town in litters came, 
Or chariots, many a royal dame, 
And honoured so the funeral ground, 
With aged followers ringed around. 
With steps in inverse order bent, 353 
The priests in sad procession went 
Around the monarch's burning pyre 
Who well had nursed each sacred fire: 
With Queen Kausalya and the rest, 
Their tender hearts with woe distressed. 
The voice of women, shrill and clear 
As screaming curlews, smote the ear, 
As from a thousand voices rose 
The shriek that tells of woman's woes. 
Then weeping, faint, with loud lament, 
Down Sarjii's shelving bank they went. 

There standing on the river side 
With Bharat, priest, and peer, 

Their lips the women purified 
With water fresh and clear. 

Returning to the royal town, 

Their eyes with tear-drops filled, 

Ten days on earth they laid them down, 
And wept till grief was stilled. 

352 The Sama-veda, the hymns of which are chanted aloud. 

353 Walking from right to left. 

Canto LXXVII. The Gathering Of The Ashes. 65 1 

Canto LXXVII. The Gathering Of The 


The tenth day passed: the prince again 

Was free from every legal stain. 

He bade them on the twelfth the great 

Remaining honour celebrate. 

Much gold he gave, and gems, and food, 

To all the Brahman multitude, 

And goats whose hair was white and fine, 

And many a thousand head of kine: 

Slaves, men and damsels, he bestowed, 

And many a car and fair abode: 

Such gifts he gave the Brahman race 

His father's obsequies to grace. 

Then when the morning's earliest ray 

Appeared upon the thirteenth day, 

Again the hero wept and sighed 

Distraught and sorrow-stupefied; 

Drew, sobbing in his anguish, near, 

The last remaining debt to clear, 

And at the bottom of the pyre, 

He thus bespake his royal sire: 

"O father, hast thou left me so, 

Deserted in my friendless woe, 

When he to whom the charge was given 

To keep me, to the wood is driven? 

Her only son is forced away 

Who was his helpless mother's stay: 

Ah, whither, father, art thou fled; 

Leaving the queen uncomforted?" 

652 The Ramayana 

He looked upon the pile where lay 
The bones half-burnt and ashes grey, 
And uttering a piteous moan, 
Gave way, by anguish overthrown. 
Then as his tears began to well, 
Prostrate to earth the hero fell; 
So from its seat the staff they drag, 
And cast to earth some glorious flag. 
The ministers approached again 
The prince whom rites had freed from stain; 
So when Yayati fell, each seer, 
In pity for his fate, drew near. 
Satrughna saw him lying low 
O'erwhelmed beneath the crush of woe, 
And as upon the king he thought, 
He fell upon the earth distraught. 
When to his loving memory came 
Those noble gifts, that kingly frame, 
He sorrowed, by his woe distressed, 
As one by frenzied rage possessed: 
"Ah me, this surging sea of woe 
Has drowned us with its overflow: 
The source is Manthara, dire and dark, 
Kaikeyi is the ravening shark: 
And the great boons the monarch gave 
Lend conquering might to every wave. 
Ah, whither wilt thou go, and leave 
Thy Bharat in his woe to grieve, 
Whom ever 'twas thy greatest joy 
To fondle as a tender boy? 
Didst thou not give with thoughtful care 
Our food, our drink, our robes to wear? 
Whose love will now for us provide, 
When thou, our king and sire, hast died? 

Canto LXXVII. The Gathering Of The Ashes. 653 

At such a time bereft, forlorn, 
Why is not earth in sunder torn, 
Missing her monarch's firm control, 
His love of right, his lofty soul? 
Ah me, for Rama roams afar, 
My sire is where the Blessed are; 
How can I live deserted? I 
Will pass into the fire and die. 
Abandoned thus, I will not brook 
Upon Ayodhya's town to look, 
Once guarded by Ikshvaku's race: 
The wood shall be my dwelling place." 

Then when the princes' mournful train 
Heard the sad brothers thus complain, 
And saw their misery, at the view 
Their grief burst wilder out anew. 
Faint with lamenting, sad and worn, 
Each like a bull with broken horn, 
The brothers in their wild despair 
Lay rolling, mad with misery, there. 
Then old Vasishtha good and true, 
Their father's priest, all lore who knew, 
Raised weeping Bharat on his feet, 
And thus bespake with counsel meet: 

"Twelve days, my lord, have past away [187] 

Since flames consumed thy father's clay: 
Delay no more: as rules ordain, 
Gather what bones may yet remain. 
Three constant pairs are ever found 
To hem all mortal creatures round: 354 
Then mourn not thus, O Prince, for none 
Their close companionship may shun." 

354 Birth and death, pleasure and pain, loss and gain. 

654 The Ramayana 

Sumantra bade Satrughna rise, 
And soothed his soul with counsel wise, 
And skilled in truth, his hearer taught 
How all things are and come to naught. 
When rose each hero from the ground, 
A lion lord of men, renowned, 
He showed like Indra's flag, 355 whereon 
Fierce rains have dashed and suns have shone. 
They wiped their red and weeping eyes, 
And gently made their sad replies: 
Then, urged to haste, the royal pair 
Performed the rites that claimed their care. 

Canto LXXVIII. Manthara Punished. 

Satrughna thus to Bharat spake 

Who longed the forest road to take: 

"He who in woe was wont to give 

Strength to himself and all that live — 

Dear Rama, true and pure in heart, 

Is banished by a woman's art. 

Yet here was Lakshman, brave and strong, 

Could not his might prevent the wrong? 

Could not his arm the king restrain, 

Or make the banished free again? 

One loving right and fearing crime 

Had checked the monarch's sin in time, 

When, vassal of a woman's will, 

His feet approached the path of ill." 

355 Erected upon a tree or high staff in honour of Indra. 

Canto LXXVIII. Manthara Punished. 655 

While Lakshman's younger brother, dread 
Satrughna, thus to Bharat said, 
Came to the fronting door, arrayed 
In glittering robes, the hump-back maid. 
There she, with sandal-oil besmeared, 
In garments meet for queens appeared: 
And lustre to her form was lent 
By many a gem and ornament. 
She girdled with her broidered zone, 
And many a chain about her thrown, 
Showed like a female monkey round 
Whose body many a string is bound. 
When on that cause of evil fell 
The quick eye of the sentinel, 
He grasped her in his ruthless hold, 
And hastening in, Satrughna told: 
"Here is the wicked pest," he cried, 
"Through whom the king thy father died, 
And Rama wanders in the wood: 
Do with her as thou deemest good." 
The warder spoke: and every word 
Satrughna's breast to fury stirred: 
He called the servants, all and each. 
And spake in wrath his hasty speech: 
"This is the wretch my sire who slew, 
And misery on my brothers drew: 
Let her this day obtain the meed, 
Vile sinner, of her cruel deed." 
He spake; and moved by fury laid 
His mighty hand upon the maid, 
Who as her fellows ringed her round, 
Made with her cries the hall resound. 
Soon as the gathered women viewed 
Satrughna in his angry mood, 

656 The Ramayana 

Their hearts disturbed by sudden dread, 
They turned and from his presence fled. 
"His rage," they cried, "on us will fall, 
And ruthless, he will slay us all. 
Come, to Kausalya let us flee: 
Our hope, our sure defence is she, 
Approved by all, of virtuous mind, 
Compassionate, and good, and kind." 

His eyes with burning wrath aglow, 
Satrughna, shatterer of the foe, 
Dragged on the ground the hump-back maid 
Who shrieked aloud and screamed for aid. 
This way and that with no remorse 
He dragged her with resistless force, 
And chains and glittering trinkets burst 
Lay here and there with gems dispersed, 
Till like the sky of Autumn shone 
The palace floor they sparkled on. 
The lord of men, supremely strong, 
Haled in his rage the wretch along: 
Where Queen Kaikeyi dwelt he came, 
And sternly then addressed the dame. 
Deep in her heart Kaikeyi felt 
The stabs his keen reproaches dealt, 
And of Satrughna's ire afraid, 
To Bharat flew and cried for aid. 
He looked and saw the prince inflamed 
With burning rage, and thus exclaimed: 
"Forgive! thine angry arm restrain: 
A woman never may be slain. 
My hand Kaikeyi' s blood would spill, 
The sinner ever bent on ill, 
But Rama, long in duty tried, 

Canto LXXIX. Bharat's Commands. 657 

Would hate the impious matricide: 
And if he knew thy vengeful blade 
Had slaughtered e'en this hump-back maid, 
Never again, be sure, would he 
Speak friendly word to thee or me." 

When Bharat's speech Satrughna heard 
He calmed the rage his breast that stirred, [188] 

Releasing from her dire constraint 
The trembling wretch with terror faint. 
Then to Kaikeyi's feet she crept, 
And prostrate in her misery wept. 
Kaikeyi on the hump-back gazed, 

And saw her weep and gasp. 
Still quivering, with her senses dazed, 

From fierce Satrughna's grasp. 
With gentle words of pity she 

Assuaged her wild despair, 
E'en as a tender hand might free 

A curlew from the snare. 

Canto LXXIX. Bharat's Commands. 

Now when the sun's returning ray 
Had ushered in the fourteenth day, 
The gathered peers of state addressed 
To Bharat's ear their new request: 
"Our lord to heaven has parted hence, 
Long served with deepest reverence; 
Rama, the eldest, far from home, 
And Lakshman, in the forest roam. 

658 The Ramayana 

Prince, of mighty fame, be thou 
Our guardian and our monarch now, 
Lest secret plot or foeman's hate 
Assail our unprotected state. 

With longing eyes, O Lord of men, 
To thee look friend and citizen, 
And ready is each sacred thing 
To consecrate our chosen king. 
Come, Bharat, and accept thine own 
Ancient hereditary throne. 
Thee let the priests this day install 
As monarch to preserve us all." 

Around the sacred gear he bent 
His circling footsteps reverent, 
And, firm to vows he would not break, 
Thus to the gathered people spake: 
"The eldest son is ever king: 
So rules the house from which we spring: 
Nor should ye, Lords, like men unwise, 
With words like these to wrong advise. 
Rama is eldest born, and he 
The ruler of the land shall be. 
Now to the woods will I repair, 
Five years and nine to lodge me there. 
Assemble straight a mighty force, 
Cars, elephants, and foot and horse, 
For I will follow on his track 
And bring my eldest brother back. 
Whate'er the rites of throning need 
Placed on a car the way shall lead: 
The sacred vessels I will take 
To the wild wood for Rama's sake. 

1 o'er the lion prince's head 

Canto LXXX. The Way Prepared. 659 

The sanctifying balm will shed, 

And bring him, as the fire they bring 

Forth from the shrine, with triumphing. 

Nor will I let my mother's greed 

In this her cherished aim succeed: 

In pathless wilds will I remain, 

And Rama here as king shall reign. 

To make the rough ways smooth and clear 

Send workman out and pioneer: 

Let skilful men attend beside 

Our way through pathless spots to guide." 

As thus the royal Bharat spake, 

Ordaining all for Rama's sake, 

The audience gave with one accord 

Auspicious answer to their lord: 

"Be royal Fortune aye benign 

To thee for this good speech of thine, 

Who wishest still thine elder's hand 

To rule with kingly sway the land." 

Their glorious speech, their favouring cries 
Made his proud bosom swell: 

And from the prince's noble eyes 
The tears of rapture fell. 356 

Canto LXXX. The Way Prepared. 

356 I follow in this stanza the Bombay edition in preference to Schlegel's which 
gives the tears of joy to the courtiers. 

660 The Ramayana 

All they who knew the joiner's art, 
Or distant ground in every part; 
Each busied in his several trade, 
To work machines or ply the spade; 
Deft workmen skilled to frame the wheel, 
Or with the ponderous engine deal; 
Guides of the way, and craftsmen skilled, 
To sink the well, make bricks, and build; 
And those whose hands the tree could hew, 
And work with slips of cut bamboo, 
Went forward, and to guide them, they 
Whose eyes before had seen the way. 
Then onward in triumphant mood 
Went all the mighty multitude. 
Like the great sea whose waves leap high 
When the full moon is in the sky. 
Then, in his proper duty skilled, 
Each joined him to his several guild, 
And onward in advance they went 
With every tool and implement. 
Where bush and tangled creeper lay 
With trenchant steel they made the way; 
They felled each stump, removed each stone, 
And many a tree was overthrown. 
In other spots, on desert lands, 
Tall trees were reared by busy hands. 
Where'er the line of road they took, 
[189] They plied the hatchet, axe, and hook. 

Others, with all their strength applied, 
Cast vigorous plants and shrubs aside, 
In shelving valleys rooted deep, 
And levelled every dale and steep. 
Each pit and hole that stopped the way 
They filled with stones, and mud, and clay, 

Canto LXXX. The Way Prepared. 66 1 

And all the ground that rose and fell 

With busy care was levelled well. 

They bridged ravines with ceaseless toil, 

And pounded fine the flinty soil. 

Now here, now there, to right and left, 

A passage through the ground they cleft, 

And soon the rushing flood was led 

Abundant through the new-cut bed, 

Which by the running stream supplied 

With ocean's boundless waters vied. 

In dry and thirsty spots they sank 

Full many a well and ample tank, 

And altars round about them placed 

To deck the station in the waste. 

With well-wrought plaster smoothly spread, 

With bloomy trees that rose o'erhead, 

With banners waving in the air, 

And wild birds singing here and there, 

With fragrant sandal-water wet, 

With many a flower beside it set, 

Like the Gods' heavenly pathway showed 

That mighty host's imperial road. 

Deft workmen, chosen for their skill 

To do the high-souled Bharat's will, 

In every pleasant spot where grew 

Trees of sweet fruit and fair to view, 

As he commanded, toiled to grace 

With all delights his camping-place. 

And they who read the stars, and well 

Each lucky sign and hour could tell, 

Raised carefully the tented shade 

Wherein high-minded Bharat stayed. 

With ample space of level ground, 

With broad deep moat encompassed round; 

662 The Ramayana 

Like Mandar in his towering pride, 
With streets that ran from side to side; 
Enwreathed with many a palace tall 
Surrounded by its noble wall; 
With roads by skilful workmen made, 
Where many a glorious banner played; 
With stately mansions, where the dove 
Sat nestling in her cote above. 
Rising aloft supremely fair 
Like heavenly cars that float in air, 
Each camp in beauty and in bliss 
Matched Indra's own metropolis. 

As shines the heaven on some fair night, 
With moon and constellations filled, 

The prince's royal road was bright, 
Adorned by art of workmen skilled. 

Canto LXXXI. The Assembly. 

Ere yet the dawn had ushered in 
The day should see the march begin, 
Herald and bard who rightly knew 
Each nice degree of honour due, 
Their loud auspicious voices raised, 
And royal Bharat blessed and praised. 
With sticks of gold the drum they smote, 
Which thundered out its deafening note, 
Blew loud the sounding shell, and blent 
Each high and low-toned instrument. 
The mingled sound of drum and horn 
Through all the air was quickly borne, 

Canto LXXXI. The Assembly. 663 

And as in Bharat's ear it rang, 
Gave the sad prince another pang. 

Then Bharat, starting from repose, 
Stilled the glad sounds that round him rose, 
"I am not king; no more mistake:" 
Then to Satrughna thus he spake: 
"O see what general wrongs succeed 
Sprung from Kaikeyi's evil deed! 
The king my sire has died and thrown 
Fresh miseries on me alone. 
The royal bliss, on duty based, 
Which our just high-souled father graced, 
Wanders in doubt and sore distress 
Like a tossed vessel rudderless. 
And he who was our lordly stay 
Roams in the forest far away, 
Expelled by this my mother, who 
To duty's law is most untrue." 

As royal Bharat thus gave vent 
To bitter grief in wild lament, 
Gazing upon his face the crowd 
Of pitying women wept aloud. 
His lamentation scarce was o'er, 
When Saint Vasishtha, skilled in lore 
Of royal duty, dear to fame, 
To join the great assembly came. 
Girt by disciples ever true 
Still nearer to that hall he drew, 
Resplendent, heavenly to behold, 
Adorned with wealth of gems and gold: 
E'en so a man in duty tried 
Draws near to meet his virtuous bride. 

664 The Ramayana 

He reached his golden seat o'erlaid 
With coverlet of rich brocade, 
There sat, in all the Vedas read, 
And called the messengers, and said: 
"Go forth, let Brahman, Warrior, peer, 
And every captain gather here: 
Let all attentive hither throng: 
Go, hasten: we delay too long. 
Satrughna, glorious Bharat bring, 
[190] The noble children of the king, 357 

Yudhajit 358 and Sumantra, all 
The truthful and the virtuous call." 

He ended: soon a mighty sound 
Of thickening tumult rose around, 
As to the hall they bent their course 
With car, and elephant, and horse, 
The people all with glad acclaim 
Welcomed Prince Bharat as he came: 
E'en as they loved their king to greet, 
Or as the Gods Lord Indra 359 meet. 
The vast assembly shone as fair 

With Bharat's kingly face 
As Dasaratha's self were there 

To glorify the place. 
It gleamed like some unruffled lake 

Where monsters huge of mould 
With many a snake their pastime take 
O'er shells, sand, gems, and gold. 

357 The commentator says "Satrughna accompanied by the other sons of the 

358 Not Bharat's uncle, but some councillor. 

359 Satakratu, Lord of a hundred sacrifices, the performance of a hundred 
Asvamedhas or sacrifices of a horse entitling the sacrificer to this exalted 

Canto LXXXII. The Departure. 665 

Canto LXXXII. The Departure. 

The prudent prince the assembly viewed 

Thronged with its noble multitude, 

Resplendent as a cloudless night 

When the full moon is in his height; 

While robes of every varied hue 

A glory o'er the synod threw. 

The priest in lore of duty skilled 

Looked on the crowd the hall that filled, 

And then in accents soft and grave 

To Bharat thus his counsel gave: 

"The king, dear son, so good and wise, 

Has gone from earth and gained the skies, 

Leaving to thee, her rightful lord, 

This rich wide land with foison stored. 

And still has faithful Rama stood 

Firm to the duty of the good, 

And kept his father's hest aright, 

As the moon keeps its own dear light. 

Thus sire and brother yield to thee 

This realm from all annoyance free: 

Rejoice thy lords: enjoy thine own: 

Anointed king, ascend the throne. 

Let vassal Princes hasten forth 

From distant lands, west, south, and north, 

From Kerala, 360 from every sea, 

And bring ten million gems to thee." 

As thus the sage Vasishtha spoke, 

A storm of grief o'er Bharat broke. 

And longing to be just and true, 

His thoughts to duteous Rama flew. 

666 The Ramayana 

With sobs and sighs and broken tones, 

E'en as a wounded mallard moans, 

He mourned with deepest sorrow moved, 

And thus the holy priest reproved: 

"O, how can such as Bharat dare 

The power and sway from him to tear, 

Wise, and devout, and true, and chaste, 

With Scripture lore and virtue graced? 

Can one of Dasaratha's seed 

Be guilty of so vile a deed? 

The realm and I are Rama's: thou, 

Shouldst speak the words of justice now. 

For he, to claims of virtue true, 

Is eldest born and noblest too: 

Nahush, Dilipa could not be 

More famous in their lives than he. 

As Dasaratha ruled of right, 

So Rama's is the power and right. 

If I should do this sinful deed 

And forfeit hope of heavenly meed, 

My guilty act would dim the shine 

Of old Ikshvaku's glorious line. 

Nay, as the sin my mother wrought 

Is grievous to my inmost thought, 

I here, my hands together laid, 

Will greet him in the pathless shade. 

To Rama shall my steps be bent, 

My King, of men most excellent, 

Raghu's illustrious son, whose sway 

Might hell, and earth, and heaven obey." 

That righteous speech, whose every word 
Bore virtue's stamp, the audience heard; 
On Rama every thought was set, 

Canto LXXXII. The Departure. 667 

And with glad tears each eye was wet. 
"Then, if the power I still should lack 
To bring my noble brother back, 
I in the wood will dwell, and share 
His banishment with Lakshman there. 
By every art persuasive I 
To bring him from the wood will try, 
And show him to your loving eyes, 
O Brahmans noble, good, and wise. 
E'en now, the road to make and clear, 
Each labourer pressed, and pioneer 
Have I sent forward to precede 
The army I resolve to lead." 

Thus, by fraternal love possessed, 
His firm resolve the prince expressed, 
Then to Sumantra, deeply read 
In holy texts, he turned and said: 
"Sumantra, rise without delay, 
And as I bid my words obey. 
Give orders for the march with speed, 
And all the army hither lead." 

The wise Sumantra, thus addressed, 
Obeyed the high-souled chiefs behest. 
He hurried forth with joy inspired 
And gave the orders he desired. 
Delight each soldier's bosom filled, 
And through each chief and captain thrilled, [191] 

668 The Ramayana 

To hear that march proclaimed, to bring 
Dear Rama back from wandering. 
From house to house the tidings flew: 
Each soldier's wife the order knew, 
And as she listened blithe and gay 
Her husband urged to speed away. 
Captain and soldier soon declared 
The host equipped and all prepared 
With chariots matching thought for speed, 
And wagons drawn by ox and steed. 
When Bharat by Vasishtha's side, 
His ready host of warriors eyed, 
Thus in Sumantra's ear he spoke: 
"My car and horses quickly yoke." 
Sumantra hastened to fulfil 
With ready joy his master's will, 
And quickly with the chariot sped 
Drawn by fleet horses nobly bred. 
Then glorious Bharat, true, devout, 
Whose genuine valour none could doubt, 
Gave in fit words his order out; 
For he would seek the shade 
Of the great distant wood, and there 
Win his dear brother with his prayer: 
"Sumantra, haste! my will declare 

The host be all arrayed. 
I to the wood my way will take, 

To Rama supplication make, 
And for the world's advantage sake, 

Will lead him home again." 
Then, ordered thus, the charioteer 
Who listened with delighted ear, 
Went forth and gave his orders clear 

To captains of the train. 

Canto LXXXIII. The Journey Begun. 669 

He gave the popular chiefs the word, 
And with the news his friends he stirred, 
And not a single man deferred 

Preparing for the road. 
Then Brahman, Warrior, Merchant, thrall, 
Obedient to Sumantra's call, 
Each in his house arose, and all 
Yoked elephant or camel tall, 
Or ass or noble steed in stall, 

And full appointed showed. 

Canto LXXXIII. The Journey Begun. 

Then Bharat rose at early morn, 
And in his noble chariot borne 
Drove forward at a rapid pace 
Eager to look on Rama's face. 
The priests and lords, a fair array, 
In sun-bright chariots led the way. 
Behind, a well appointed throng, 
Nine thousand elephants streamed along. 
Then sixty thousand cars, and then, 
With various arms, came fighting men. 
A hundred thousand archers showed 
In lengthened line the steeds they rode — 
A mighty host, the march to grace 
Of Bharat, pride of Raghu's race. 
Kaikeyi and Sumitra came, 
And good Kausalya, dear to fame: 
By hopes of Rama's coming cheered 
They in a radiant car appeared. 

670 The Ramayana 

On fared the noble host to see 

Rama and Lakshman, wild with glee, 

And still each other's ear to please, 

Of Rama spoke in words like these: 

"When shall our happy eyes behold 

Our hero true, and pure, and bold, 

So lustrous dark, so strong of arm, 

Who keeps the world from woe and harm? 

The tears that now our eyeballs dim 

Will vanish at the sight of him, 

As the whole world's black shadows fly 

When the bright sun ascends the sky." 

Conversing thus their way pursued 
The city's joyous multitude, 
And each in mutual rapture pressed 
A friend or neighbour to his breast. 
Thus every man of high renown, 
And every merchant of the town, 
And leading subjects, joyous went 
Toward Rama in his banishment. 
And those who worked the potter's wheel, 
And artists skilled in gems to deal; 
And masters of the weaver's art, 
And those who shaped the sword and dart; 
And they who golden trinkets made, 
And those who plied the fuller's trade; 
And servants trained the bath to heat, 
And they who dealt in incense sweet; 
Physicians in their business skilled, 
And those who wine and mead distilled; 
And workmen deft in glass who wrought, 
And those whose snares the peacock caught; 
With them who bored the ear for rings, 

Canto LXXXIII. The Journey Begun. 67 1 

Or sawed, or fashioned ivory things; 

And those who knew to mix cement, 

Or lived by sale of precious scent; 

And men who washed, and men who sewed, 

And thralls who mid the herds abode; 

And fishers of the flood, and they 

Who played and sang, and women gay; 

And virtuous Brahmans, Scripture-wise, 

Of life approved in all men's eyes; 

These swelled the prince's lengthened train, 

Borne each in car or bullock wain. 

Fair were the robes they wore upon 

Their limbs where red-hued unguents shone. 

These all in various modes conveyed 

Their journey after Bharat made; 

The soldiers' hearts with rapture glowed, 

Following Bharat on his road, 

Their chief whose tender love would fain 

Bring his dear brother home again. 

With elephant, and horse, and car, 

The vast procession travelled far, [192] 

And came where Ganga's waves below 

The town of Sringavera 361 flow. 

There, with his friends and kinsmen nigh, 

Dwelt Guha, Rama's dear ally, 

Heroic guardian of the land 

With dauntless heart and ready hand. 

There for a while the mighty force 

That followed Bharat stayed its course, 

Gazing on Ganga's bosom stirred 

By many a graceful water-bird. 

When Bharat viewed his followers there, 

361 Now Sungroor, in the Allahabad district. 

672 The Ramayana 

And Ganga's water, blest and fair, 

The prince, who lore of words possessed, 

His councillors and lords addressed: 

"The captains of the army call: 

Proclaim this day a halt for all, 

That so to-morrow, rested, we 

May cross this flood that seeks the sea. 

Meanwhile, descending to the shore, 

The funeral stream I fain would pour 

From Ganga's fair auspicious tide 

To him, my father glorified." 

Thus Bharat spoke: each peer and lord 
Approved his words with one accord, 
And bade the weary troops repose 
In separate spots where'er they chose. 
There by the mighty stream that day, 
Most glorious in its vast array 
The prince's wearied army lay 

In various groups reclined. 
There Bharat's hours of night were spent, 
While every eager thought he bent 
On bringing home from banishment 

His brother, great of mind. 

Canto LXXXIV. Guha's Anger. 

Canto LXXXIV. Guha's Anger. 673 

King Guha saw the host spread o'er 
The wide expanse of Ganga's shore, 
With waving flag and pennon graced, 
And to his followers spoke in haste: 
"A mighty army meets my eyes, 
That rivals Ocean's self in size: 
Where'er I look my very mind 
No limit to the host can find. 
Sure Bharat with some evil thought 
His army to our land has brought. 
See, huge of form, his flag he rears, 
That like an Ebony-tree appears. 
He comes with bonds to take and chain, 
Or triumph o'er our people slain: 
And after, Rama will he slay, — 
Him whom his father drove away: 
The power complete he longs to gain, 
And — task too hard — usurp the reign. 
So Bharat comes with wicked will 
His brother Rama's blood to spill. 
But Rama's slave and friend am I; 
He is my lord and dear ally. 
Keep here your watch in arms arrayed 
Near Ganga's flood to lend him aid, 
And let my gathered servants stand 
And line with troops the river strand. 
Here let the river keepers meet, 
Who flesh and roots and berries eat; 
A hundred fishers man each boat 
Of the five hundred here afloat, 
And let the youthful and the strong 
Assemble in defensive throng. 
But yet, if, free from guilty thought 
'Gainst Rama, he this land have sought, 

674 The Ramayana 

The prince's happy host to-day 
Across the flood shall make its way." 

He spoke: then bearing in a dish 
A gift of honey, meat, and fish, 
The king of the Nishadas drew 
Toward Bharat for an interview. 
When Bharat's noble charioteer 
Observed the monarch hastening near, 
He duly, skilled in courteous lore, 
The tidings to his master bore: 
"This aged prince who hither bends 
His footsteps with a thousand friends, 
Knows, firm ally of Rama, all 
That may in Dandak wood befall: 
Therefore, Kakutstha's son, admit 
The monarch, as is right and fit: 
For doubtless he can clearly tell 
Where Rama now and Lakshman dwell." 

When Bharat heard Sumantra's rede, 
To his fair words the prince agreed: 
"Go quickly forth," he cried, "and bring 
Before my face the aged king." 
King Guha, with his kinsmen near, 
Rejoiced the summoning to hear: 
He nearer drew, bowed low his head, 
And thus to royal Bharat said: 
"No mansions can our country boast, 
And unexpected comes thy host: 
But what we have I give thee all: 
Rest in the lodging of thy thrall. 
See, the Nishadas here have brought 
The fruit and roots their hands have sought: 

Canto LXXXV. Guha And Bharat. 675 

And we have woodland fare beside, 
And store of meat both fresh and dried. 
To rest their weary limbs, I pray 
This night at least thy host may stay: 
Then cheered with all we can bestow 
To-morrow thou with it mayst go." 

Canto LXXXV. Guha And Bharat. 

Thus the Nishadas' king besought: 

The prince with spirit wisdom-fraught [193] 

Replied in seemly words that blent 

Deep matter with the argument: 

"Thou, friend of him whom I revere, 

With honours high hast met me here, 

For thou alone wouldst entertain 

And feed to-day so vast a train." 

In such fair words the prince replied, 

Then, pointing to the path he cried: 

"Which way aright will lead my feet 

To Bharadvaja's calm retreat; 

For all this land near Ganga's streams 

Pathless and hard to traverse seems?" 

676 The Ramayana 

Thus spoke the prince: King Guha heard 
Delighted every prudent word, 
And gazing on that forest wide, 
Raised suppliant hands, and thus replied: 
"My servants, all the ground who know, 

glorious Prince, with thee shall go 
With constant care thy way to guide, 
And I will journey by thy side. 

But this thy host so wide dispread 
Wakes in my heart one doubt and dread, 
Lest, threatening Rama good and great, 
111 thoughts thy journey stimulate." 

But when King Guha, ill at ease, 
Declared his fear in words like these, 
As pure as is the cloudless sky 
With soft voice Bharat made reply: 
"Suspect me not: ne'er come the time 
For me to plot so foul a crime! 
He is my eldest brother, he 
Is like a father dear to me. 

1 go to lead my brother thence 
Who makes the wood his residence. 

No thought but this thy heart should frame: 
This simple truth my lips proclaim." 

Then with glad cheer King Guha cried, 
With Bharat's answer gratified: 
"Blessed art thou: on earth I see 
None who may vie, O Prince, with thee, 
Who canst of thy free will resign 
The kingdom which unsought is thine. 
For this, a name that ne'er shall die, 
Thy glory through the worlds shall fly, 

Canto LXXXV. Guha And Bharat. 677 

Who fain wouldst balm thy brother's pain 
And lead the exile home again." 

As Guha thus, and Bharat, each 
To other spoke in friendly speech, 
The Day-God sank with glory dead, 
And night o'er all the sky was spread. 
Soon as King Guha's thoughtful care 
Had quartered all the army there, 
Well honoured, Bharat laid his head 
Beside Satrughna on a bed. 
But grief for Rama yet oppressed 
High-minded Bharat's faithful breast — 
Such torment little was deserved 
By him who ne'er from duty swerved. 
The fever raged through every vein 
And burnt him with its inward pain: 
So when in woods the flames leap free 
The fire within consumes the tree. 
From heat of burning anguish sprung 
The sweat upon his body hung, 
As when the sun with fervid glow 
On high Himalaya melts the snow. 
As, banished from the herd, a bull 
Wanders alone and sorrowful. 

Thus sighing and distressed, 
In misery and bitter grief, 
With fevered heart that mocked relief, 
Distracted in his mind, the chief 

Still mourned and found no rest. 

678 The Ramayana 

Canto LXXXVI. Guha's Speech. 

Guha the king, acquainted well 
With all that in the wood befell, 
To Bharat the unequalled told 
The tale of Lakshman mighty- souled: 
"With many an earnest word I spake 
To Lakshman as he stayed awake, 
And with his bow and shaft in hand 
To guard his brother kept his stand: 
"Now sleep a little, Lakshman, see 
This pleasant bed is strewn for thee: 
Hereon thy weary body lay, 
And strengthen thee with rest, I pray, 
Inured to toil are men like these, 
But thou hast aye been nursed in ease. 
Rest, duteous-minded! I will keep 
My watch while Rama lies asleep: 
For in the whole wide world is none 
Dearer to me than Raghu's son. 
Harbour no doubt or jealous fear: 
I speak the truth with heart sincere: 
For from the grace which he has shown 
Will glory on my name be thrown: 
Great store of merit shall I gain, 
And duteous, form no wish in vain. 
Let me enforced by many a row 
Of followers, armed with shaft and bow 
For well-loved Rama's weal provide 
Who lies asleep by Sita's side. 
For through this wood I often go, 
And all its shades conceal I know: 
And we with conquering arms can meet 
A four-fold host arrayed complete." 

Canto LXXXVI. Guha's Speech. 679 

"With words like these I spoke, designed 

To move the high-souled Bharat's mind, 

But he upon his duty bent, 

Plied his persuasive argument: 

"O, how can slumber close mine eyes 

When lowly couched with Sita lies 

The royal Rama? can I give 

My heart to joy, or even live? 

He whom no mighty demon, no, 

Nor heavenly God can overthrow, 

See, Guha, how he lies, alas, [194] 

With Sita couched on gathered grass. 

By varied labours, long, severe, 

By many a prayer and rite austere, 

He, Dasaratha's cherished son, 

By Fortune stamped, from Heaven was won. 

Now as his son is forced to fly, 

The king ere long will surely die: 

Reft of his guardian hand, forlorn 

In widowed grief this land will mourn. 

E'en now perhaps, with toil o'erspent, 

The women cease their loud lament, 

And cries of woe no longer ring 

Throughout the palace of the king. 

But ah for sad Kausalya! how 

Fare she and mine own mother now? 

How fares the king? this night, I think, 

Some of the three in death will sink. 

With hopes upon Satrughna set 

My mother may survive as yet, 

But the sad queen will die who bore 

The hero, for her grief is sore. 

His cherished wish that would have made 

Dear Rama king, so long delayed, 

680 The Ramayana 

"Too late! too late!" the king will cry, 
And conquered by his misery die. 
When Fate has brought the mournful day 
Which sees my father pass away, 
How happy in their lives are they 
Allowed his funeral rites to pay. 
Our exile o'er, with him who ne'er 
Turns from the oath his lips may swear, 
May we returning safe and well 
gain in fair Ayodhya dwell." 
Thus Bharat stood with many a sigh 
Lamenting, and the night went by. 
Soon as the morning light shone fair 
In votive coils both bound their hair. 
And then I sent them safely o'er 
And left them on the farther shore. 
With Sita then they onward passed, 
Their coats of bark about them cast, 

Their locks like hermits' bound, 
The mighty tamers of the foe, 
Each with his arrows and his bow, 

Went over the rugged ground, 
Proud in their strength and undeterred 
Like elephants that lead the herd, 

And gazing oft around." 

Canto LXXXVII. Guha's Story. 

Canto LXXXVII. Guha's Story. 68 1 

That speech of Guha Bharat heard 
With grief and tender pity stirred, 
And as his ears the story drank, 
Deep in his thoughtful heart it sank. 
His large full eyes in anguish rolled, 
His trembling limbs grew stiff and cold; 
Then fell he, like a tree uptorn, 
In woe too grievous to be borne. 
When Guha saw the long-armed chief 
Whose eye was like a lotus leaf, 
With lion shoulders strong and fair, 
High-mettled, prostrate in despair, — 
Pale, bitterly afflicted, he 
Reeled as in earthquake reels a tree. 
But when Satrughna standing nigh 
Saw his dear brother helpless lie, 
Distraught with woe his head he bowed, 
Embraced him oft and wept aloud. 
Then Bharat's mothers came, forlorn 
Of their dear king, with fasting worn, 
And stood with weeping eyes around 
The hero prostrate on the ground. 
Kausalya, by her woe oppressed, 
The senseless Bharat's limbs caressed, 
As a fond cow in love and fear 
Caresses oft her youngling dear: 
Then yielding to her woe she said, 
Weeping and sore disquieted: 
"What torments, O my son, are these 
Of sudden pain or swift disease? 
The lives of us and all the line 
Depend, dear child, on only thine. 
Rama and Lakshman forced to flee, 
I live by naught but seeing thee: 

682 The Ramayana 

For as the king has past away 
Thou art my only help to-day. 
Hast thou, perchance, heard evil news 
Of Lakshman, which thy soul subdues, 
Or Rama dwelling with his spouse — 
My all is he — neath forest boughs?" 

Then slowly gathering sense and strength 
The weeping hero rose at length, 
And words like these to Guha spake, 
That bade Kausalya comfort take: 
"Where lodged the prince that night? and where 
Lakshman the brave, and Sita fair? 
Show me the couch whereon he lay, 
Tell me the food he ate, I pray." 

Then Guha the Nishadas' king 
Replied to Bharat's questioning: 
"Of all I had I brought the best 
To serve my good and honoured guest 
Food of each varied kind I chose, 
And every fairest fruit that grows. 
Rama the hero truly brave 
Declined the gift I humbly gave: 
His Warrior part he ne'er forgot, 
And what I brought accepted not: 
"No gifts, my friend, may we accept: 
Our law is, Give, and must be kept." 
The high-souled chief, O Monarch, thus 
With gracious words persuaded us. 
Then calm and still, absorbed in thought, 
He drank the water Lakshman brought, 
And then, obedient to his vows, 
He fasted with his gentle spouse. 
[195] So Lakshman too from food abstained, 

Canto LXXXVIII. The Ingudi Tree. 683 

And sipped the water that remained: 
Then with ruled lips, devoutly staid, 
The three 362 their evening worship paid. 
Then Lakshman with unwearied care 
Brought heaps of sacred grass, and there 
With his own hands he quickly spread, 
For Rama's rest, a pleasant bed, 
And faithful Sita's too, where they 
Reclining each by other lay. 
Then Lakshman bathed their feet, and drew 
A little distance from the two. 
Here stands the tree which lent them shade, 
Here is the grass beneath it laid, 
Where Rama and his consort spent 
The night together ere they went. 
Lakshman, whose arms the foeman quell, 
Watched all the night as sentinel, 

And kept his great bow strung: 
His hand was gloved, his arm was braced, 
Two well-filled quivers at his waist, 

With deadly arrows, hung. 
I took my shafts and trusty bow, 
And with that tamer of the foe 

Stood ever wakeful near, 
And with my followers, bow in hand, 
Behind me ranged, a ready band, 

Kept watch o'er Indra's peer." 

Canto LXXXVIII. The Ingudi Tree. 

362 Rama, Lakshman, and Sumantra. 

684 The Ramayana 

When Bharat with each friend and peer 

Had heard that tale so full and clear, 

They went together to the tree 

The bed which Rama pressed to see. 

Then Bharat to his mothers said: 

"Behold the high-souled hero's bed: 

These tumbled heaps of grass betray 

Where he that night with Sita lay: 

Unmeet, the heir of fortune high 

Thus on the cold bare earth should lie, 

The monarch's son, in counsel sage, 

Of old imperial lineage. 

That lion-lord whose noble bed 

With finest skins of deer was spread, — 

How can he now endure to press 

The bare earth, cold and comfortless! 

This sudden fall from bliss to grief 

Appears untrue, beyond belief: 

My senses are distraught: I seem 

To view the fancies of a dream. 

There is no deity so great, 

No power in heaven can master Fate, 

If Rama, Dasaratha's heir, 

Lay on the ground and slumbered there; 

And lovely Sita, she who springs 

From fair Videha's ancient kings, 

Rama's dear wife, by all adored, 

Lay on the earth beside her lord. 

Here was his couch, upon this heap 

He tossed and turned in restless sleep: 

On the hard soil each manly limb 

Has stamped the grass with signs of him. 

That night, it seems, fair Sita spent 

Arrayed in every ornament, 

Canto LXXXVIII. The Ingudi Tree. 685 

For here and there my eyes behold 

Small particles of glistering gold. 

She laid her outer garment here, 

For still some silken threads appear, 

How dear in her devoted eyes 

Must be the bed where Rama lies, 

Where she so tender could repose 

And by his side forget her woes. 

Alas, unhappy, guilty me! 

For whom the prince was forced to flee, 

And chief of Raghu's sons and best, 

A bed like this with Sita pressed. 

Son of a royal sire whose hand 

Ruled paramount o'er every land, 

Could he who every joy bestows, 

Whose body like the lotus shows, 

The friend of all, who charms the sight, 

Whose flashing eyes are darkly bright, 

Leave the dear kingdom, his by right, 

Unmeet for woe, the heir of bliss, 

And lie upon a bed like this? 

Great joy and happy fate are thine, 

O Lakshman, marked with each fair sign, 

Whose faithful footsteps follow still 

Thy brother in his hour of ill. 

And blest is Sita, nobly good, 

Who dwells with Rama in the wood. 

Ours is, alas, a doubtful fate 

Of Rama reft and desolate. 

My royal sire has gained the skies, 

In woods the high-souled hero lies; 

The state is wrecked and tempest-tossed, 

A vessel with her rudder lost. 

Yet none in secret thought has planned 

The Ramayana 

With hostile might to seize the land: 
Though forced in distant wilds to dwell, 
The hero's arm protects it well. 
Unguarded, with deserted wall, 
No elephant or steed in stall, 
My father's royal city shows 
Her portals open to her foes, 
Of bold protectors reft and bare, 
Defenceless in her dark despair: 
But still her foes the wish restrain, 
As men from poisoned cates refrain. 
I from this hour my nights will pass 
Couched on the earth or gathered grass, 
Eat only fruit and roots, and wear 
A coat of bark, and matted hair. 
I in the woods will pass, content, 
For him the term of banishment; 
So shall I still unbroken save 
[196] The promise which the hero gave. 

While I remain for Rama there, 
Satrughna will my exile share, 
And Rama in his home again, 
With Lakshman, o'er Ayodhya reign, 
for him, to rule and guard the state, 
The twice-born men shall consecrate. 
O, may the Gods I serve incline 
To grant this earnest wish of mine! 
If when I bow before his feet 
And with all moving arts entreat, 

He still deny my prayer, 
Then with my brother will I live: 
He must, he must permission give, 

Roaming in forests there." 

Canto LXXXIX. The Passage Of Ganga. 687 

Canto LXXXIX. The Passage Of Ganga. 

That night the son of Raghu lay 
On Ganga' s bank till break of day: 
Then with the earliest light he woke 
And thus to brave Satrughna spoke. 
"Rise up, Satrughna, from thy bed: 
Why sleepest thou the night is fled. 
See how the sun who chases night 
Wakes every lotus with his light. 
Arise, arise, and first of all 
The lord of Sringavera call, 
For he his friendly aid will lend 
Our army o'er the flood to send." 

Thus urged, Satrughna answered: "I, 
Remembering Rama, sleepless lie." 
As thus the brothers, each to each, 
The lion-mettled, ended speech, 
Came Guha, the Nishadas' king, 
And spoke with kindly questioning: 
"Hast thou in comfort passed," he cried, 
"The night upon the river side? 
With thee how fares it? and are these, 
Thy soldiers, healthy and at ease?" 
Thus the Nishadas' lord inquired 
In gentle words which love inspired, 
And Bharat, Rama's faithful slave, 
Thus to the king his answer gave: 
"The night has sweetly passed, and we 
Are highly honoured, King, by thee. 
Now let thy servants boats prepare, 
Our army o'er the stream to bear." 

688 The Ramayana 

The speech of Bharat Guha heard, 
And swift to do his bidding stirred. 
Within the town the monarch sped 
And to his ready kinsmen said: 
"Awake, each kinsman, rise, each friend! 
May every joy your lives attend. 
Gather each boat upon the shore 
And ferry all the army o'er." 
Thus Guha spoke: nor they delayed, 
But, rising quick, their lord obeyed, 
And soon, from every side secured, 
Five hundred boats were ready moored. 
Some reared aloft the mystic sign, 363 
And mighty bells were hung in line: 
Of firmest build, gay flags they bore, 
And sailors for the helm and oar. 
One such King Guha chose, whereon, 
Of fair white cloth, an awning shone, 
And sweet musicians charmed the ear, — 
And bade his servants urge it near. 
Then Bharat swiftly sprang on board, 
And then Satrughna, famous lord, 
To whom, with many a royal dame, 
Kausalya and Sumitra came. 
The household priest went first in place, 
The elders, and the Brahman race, 
And after them the monarch's train 
Of women borne in many a wain. 
Then high to heaven the shouts of those 
Who fired the army's huts, 364 arose, 
With theirs who bathed along the shore, 

363 The svastika, a little cross with a transverse line at each extremity. 

364 When an army marched it was customary to burn the huts in which it had 
spent the night. 

Canto XC. The Hermitage. 689 

Or to the boats the baggage bore. 

Full freighted with that mighty force 

The boats sped swiftly on their course, 

By royal Guha's servants manned, 

And gentle gales the banners fanned. 

Some boats a crowd of dames conveyed, 

In others noble coursers neighed; 

Some chariots and their cattle bore, 

Some precious wealth and golden store. 

Across the stream each boat was rowed, 

There duly disembarked its load, 

And then returning on its way, 

Sped here and there in merry play. 

Then swimming elephants appeared 

With flying pennons high upreared. 

And as the drivers urged them o'er, 

The look of winged mountains wore. 

Some men in barges reached the strand, 

Others on rafts came safe to land: 

Some buoyed with pitchers crossed the tide, 

And others on their arms relied. 

Thus with the help the monarch gave 

The army crossed pure Ganga's wave: 

Then in auspicious hour it stood 

Within Prayaga's famous wood. 

The prince with cheering words addressed 

His weary men, and bade them rest 

Where'er they chose and he, 
With priest and deacon by his side, 
To Bharadvaja's dwelling hied 

That best of saints to see. 


690 The Ramayana 

Canto XC. The Hermitage. 

The prince of men a league away 
Saw where the hermit's dwelling lay, 
Then with his lords his path pursued, 
And left his warrior multitude. 
On foot, as duty taught his mind, 
He left his warlike gear behind; 
Two robes of linen cloth he wore, 
And bade Vasishtha walk before. 
Then Bharat from his lords withdrew 
When Bharadvaja came in view, 
And toward the holy hermit went 
Behind Vasishtha, reverent. 
When Bharadvaja, saint austere, 
Saw good Vasishtha drawing near, 
He cried, upspringing from his seat, 
"The grace-gift bring, my friend to greet." 
When Saint Vasishtha near him drew, 
And Bharat paid the reverence due, 
The glorious hermit was aware 
That Dasaratha's son was there. 
The grace-gift, water for their feet 
He gave, and offered fruit to eat; 
Then, duty-skilled, with friendly speech 
In seemly order questioned each: 
"How fares it in Ayodhya now 
With treasury and army? how 
With kith and kin and friends most dear, 
With councillor, and prince, and peer?" 
But, for he knew the king was dead, 
Of Dasaratha naught he said. 
Vasishtha and the prince in turn 
Would of the hermit's welfare learn: 

Canto XC. The Hermitage. 691 

Of holy fires they fain would hear, 
Of pupils, trees, and birds, and deer. 
The glorious saint his answer made 
That all was well in holy shade: 
Then love of Rama moved his breast, 
And thus he questioned of his guest: 
"Why art thou here, O Prince, whose band 
With kingly sway protects the land? 
Declare the cause, explain the whole, 
For yet some doubt disturbs my soul. 
He whom Kausalya bare, whose might 
The foemen slays, his line's delight, 
He who with wife and brother sent 
Afar now roam in banishment, 
Famed prince, to whom his father spake 
This order for a woman's sake: 
"Away ! and in the forest spend 
Thy life till fourteen years shall end" — 
Has thou the wish to harm him, bent 
On sin against the innocent? 
Wouldst thou thine elder's realm enjoy 
Without a thorn that can annoy?" 

With sobbing voice and tearful eye 
Thus Bharat sadly made reply: 
"Ah lost am I, if thou, O Saint, 
Canst thus in thought my heart attaint: 
No warning charge from thee I need; 
Ne'er could such crime from me proceed. 
The words my guilty mother spake 
When fondly jealous for my sake — 
Think not that I, to triumph moved, 
Those words approve or e'er approved. 
O Hermit, I have sought this place 

692 The Ramayana 

To win the lordly hero's grace, 
To throw me at my brother's feet 
And lead him to his royal seat. 
To this, my journey's aim and end, 
Thou shouldst, O Saint, thy favour lend: 
Where is the lord of earth? do thou, 
Most holy, say, where roams he now?" 

Then, by the saint Vasishtha pressed, 
And all the gathered priests beside, 

To Bharat's dutiful request 
The hermit graciously replied: 
"Worthy of thee, O Prince, this deed, 
True son of Raghu's ancient seed. 
I know thee reverent, well-controlled, 
The glory of the good of old. 
I grant thy prayer: in this pursuit 
I know thy heart is resolute. 
'Tis for thy sake those words I said 
That wider still thy fame may spread. 
I know where Rama, duty-tried, 
His brother, and his wife abide. 
Where Chitrakuta's heights arise 
Thy brother Rama's dwelling lies. 
Go thither with the morning's light, 
And stay with all thy lords tonight: 
For I would show thee honour high, 
And do not thou my wish deny." 

Canto XCI. Bharadvaja's Feast. 

Canto XCI. Bharadvaja's Feast. 693 

Soon as he saw the prince's mind 

To rest that day was well inclined, 

He sought Kaikeyi's son to please 

With hospitable courtesies. 

Then Bharat to the saint replied: 

"Our wants are more than satisfied. 

The gifts which honoured strangers greet, 

And water for our weary feet 

Hast thou bestowed with friendly care, 

And every choice of woodland fare." 

Then Bharadvaja spoke, a smile 
Playing upon his lips the while: 
"I know, dear Prince, thy friendly mind 
Will any fare sufficient find, 
But gladly would I entertain 
And banquet all thine armed train: 
Such is my earnest wish: do thou 
This longing of my heart allow, 
Why hast thou hither bent thy way, 

And made thy troops behind thee stay? [198] 

Why unattended? couldst thou not 
With friends and army seek this spot?" 

Bharat, with reverent hands raised high, 
To that great hermit made reply: 
"My troops, for awe of thee, O Sage, 
I brought not to thy hermitage: 
Troops of a king or monarch's son 
A hermit's home should ever shun. 
Behind me comes a mighty train 
Wide spreading o'er the ample plain, 
Where every chief and captain leads 
Men, elephants, and mettled steeds. 

694 The Ramayana 

I feared, O reverend Sage, lest these 
Might harm the holy ground and trees, 
Springs might be marred and cots o'erthrown, 
So with the priests I came alone." 

"Bring all thy host," the hermit cried, 
And Bharat, to his joy, complied. 
Then to the chapel went the sire, 
Where ever burnt the sacred fire, 
And first, in order due, with sips 
Of water purified his lips: 
To Visvakarma, then he prayed, 
His hospitable feast to aid: 
"Let Visvakarma hear my call, 
The God who forms and fashions all: 
A mighty banquet I provide, 
Be all my wants this day supplied. 
Lord Indra at their head, the three 365 
Who guard the worlds I call to me: 
A mighty host this day I feed, 
Be now supplied my every need. 
Let all the streams that eastward go, 
And those whose waters westering flow, 
Both on the earth and in the sky, 
Flow hither and my wants supply. 
Be some with ardent liquor filled, 
And some with wine from flowers distilled, 
While some their fresh cool streams retain 
Sweet as the juice of sugar-cane. 
I call the Gods, I call the band 
Of minstrels that around them stand: 
I call the Haha and Huhii, 
I call the sweet Visvavasu, 

Canto XCI. Bharadvaja's Feast. 695 

I call the heavenly wives of these 
With all the bright Apsarases, 
Alambusha of beauty rare, 
The charmer of the tangled hair, 
Ghritachi and Visvachi fair, 
Hema and Bhima sweet to view, 
And lovely Nagadanta too, 
And all the sweetest nymphs who stand 
By Indra or by Brahma's hand — 
I summon these with all their train 
And Tumburu to lead the strain. 
Here let Kuvera's garden rise 
Which far in Northern Kuru 366 lies: 

For leaves let cloth and gems entwine, 

And let its fruit be nymphs divine. 

Let Soma 367 give the noblest food 

To feed the mighty multitude, 

Of every kind, for tooth and lip, 

To chew, to lick, to suck, and sip. 

Let wreaths, where fairest flowers abound, 

Spring from the trees that bloom around. 

Each sort of wine to woo the taste, 

And meats of every kind be placed." 

366 «^ h a ppy j anc j m tne remo te north where the inhabitants enjoy a natural 
pefection attended with complete happiness obtained without exertion. There 
is there no vicissitude, nor decrepitude, nor death, nor fear: no distinction of 
virtue and vice, none of the inequalities denoted by the words best, worst, and 
intermediate, nor any change resulting from the succession of the four Yugas." 
See MUIR'S{FNS Sanskrit Texts, Vol. I. p. 492. 

696 The Ramayana 

Thus spake the hermit self-restrained, 
With proper tone by rules ordained, 
On deepest meditation bent, 
In holy might preeminent. 
Then as with hands in reverence raised 
Absorbed in thought he eastward gazed, 
The deities he thus addressed 
Came each in semblance manifest. 
Delicious gales that cooled the frame 
From Malaya and Dardar came, 
That kissed those scented hills and threw 
Auspicious fragrance where they blew. 
Then falling fast in sweetest showers 
Came from the sky immortal flowers, 
And all the airy region round 
With heavenly drums was made to sound. 
Then breathed a soft celestial breeze, 
Then danced the bright Apsarases, 
The minstrels and the Gods advanced, 
And warbling lutes the soul entranced. 
The earth and sky that music filled, 
And through each ear it softly thrilled, 
As from the heavenly quills it fell 
With time and tune attempered well. 
Soon as the minstrels ceased to play 
And airs celestial died away, 
The troops of Bharat saw amazed 
What Visvakarma's art had raised. 
On every side, five leagues around, 
All smooth and level lay the ground, 
With fresh green grass that charmed the sight 
Like sapphires blent with lazulite. 
There the Wood-apple hung its load, 
The Mango and the Citron glowed, 

Canto XCI. Bharadvaja's Feast. 697 

The Bel and scented Jak were there, 

And Apela with fruitage fair. 

There, brought from Northern Kuru, stood 

Rich in delights, the glorious wood, 

And many a stream was seen to glide [199] 

With flowering trees along its side. 

There mansions rose with four wide halls, 

And elephants and chargers' stalls, 

And many a house of royal state, 

Triumphal arc and bannered gate. 

With noble doorways, sought the sky, 

Like a pale cloud, a palace high, 

Which far and wide rare fragrance shed, 

With wreaths of white engarlanded. 

Square was its shape, its halls were wide, 

With many a seat and couch supplied, 

Drink of all kinds, and every meat 

Such as celestial Gods might eat. 

Then at the bidding of the seer 

Kaikeyfs strong-armed son drew near, 

And passed within that fair abode 

Which with the noblest jewels glowed. 

Then, as Vasishtha led the way, 

The councillors, in due array, 

Followed delighted and amazed 

And on the glorious structure gazed. 

Then Bharat, Raghu's son, drew near 

The kingly throne, with prince and peer, 

Whereby the chouri in the shade 

Of the white canopy was laid. 

Before the throne he humbly bent 

And honoured Rama, reverent, 

Then in his hand the chouri bore, 

And sat where sits a councillor. 

698 The Ramayana 

His ministers and household priest 
Sat by degrees from chief to least, 
Then sat the captain of the host 
And all the men he honoured most. 
Then when the saint his order gave, 
Each river with enchanted wave 
Rolled milk and curds divinely sweet 
Before the princely Bharat's feet; 
And dwellings fair on either side, 
With gay white plaster beautified, 
Their heavenly roofs were seen to lift, 
The Brahman Bharadvaja's gift. 
Then straight by Lord Kuvera sent, 
Gay with celestial ornament 
Of bright attire and jewels' shine, 
Came twenty thousand nymphs divine: 
The man on whom those beauties glanced 
That moment felt his soul entranced. 
With them from Nandan's blissful shades 
Came twenty thousand heavenly maids. 
Tumburu, Narad, Gopa came, 
And Sutanu, like radiant flame, 
The kings of the Gandharva throng, 
And ravished Bharat with their song. 
Then spoke the saint, and swift obeyed 
Alambusha, the fairest maid, 
And Misrakesi bright to view, 
Ramana, Pundrfka too, 
And danced to him with graceful ease 
The dances of Apsarases. 
All chaplets that by Gods are worn, 
Or Chaitraratha's graves adorn, 
Bloomed by the saint's command arrayed 
On branches in Prayaga's shade. 

Canto XCI. Bharadvaja's Feast. 699 

When at the saint's command the breeze 

Made music with the Vilva trees, 

To wave in rhythmic beat began 

The boughs of each Myrobolan, 

And holy fig-trees wore the look 

Of dancers, as their leaflets shook. 

The fair Tamala, palm, and pine, 

With trees that tower and plants that twine, 

The sweetly varying forms displayed 

Of stately dame or bending maid. 

Here men the foaming winecup quaffed, 

Here drank of milk full many a draught, 

And tasted meats of every kind, 

Well dressed, whatever pleased their mind. 

Then beauteous women, seven or eight, 

Stood ready by each man to wait: 

Beside the stream his limbs they stripped 

And in the cooling water dipped. 

And then the fair ones, sparkling eyed, 

With soft hands rubbed his limbs and dried, 

And sitting on the lovely bank 

Held up the winecup as he drank. 

Nor did the grooms forget to feed 

Camel and mule and ox and steed, 

For there were stores of roasted grain, 

Of honey and of sugar-cane. 

So fast the wild excitement spread 

Among the warriors Bharat led, 

That all the mighty army through 

The groom no more his charger knew, 

And he who drove might seek in vain 

To tell his elephant again. 

With every joy and rapture fired, 

Entranced with all the heart desired, 

700 The Ramayana 

The myriads of the host that night 
Revelled delirious with delight. 
Urged by the damsels at their side 
In wild delight the warriors cried: 
"Ne'er will we seek Ayodhya, no, 
Nor yet to Dandak forest go: 
Here will we stay: may happy fate 
On Bharat and on Rama wait." 
Thus cried the army gay and free 
Exulting in their lawless glee, 
Both infantry and those who rode 
On elephants, or steeds bestrode, 
Ten thousand voices shouting, "This 
Is heaven indeed for perfect bliss." 
With garlands decked they idly strayed, 
And danced and laughed and sang and played. 
At length as every soldier eyed, 
With food like Amrit satisfied, 
Each dainty cate and tempting meat, 
No longer had he care to eat. 
Thus soldier, servant, dame, and slave 
Received whate'er the wish might crave. 
As each in new-wrought clothes arrayed 
[200] Enjoyed the feast before him laid. 

Each man was seen in white attire 
Unstained by spot or speck of mire: 
None was athirst or hungry there, 
And none had dust upon his hair. 
On every side in woody dells 
Was milky food in bubbling wells, 
And there were all-supplying cows 
And honey dropping from the boughs. 
Nor wanted lakes of flower-made drink 
With piles of meat upon the brink, 

Canto XCI. Bharadvaja's Feast. 701 

Boiled, stewed, and roasted, varied cheer, 
Peachick and jungle-fowl and deer, 
There was the flesh of kid and boar, 
And dainty sauce in endless store, 
With juice of flowers concocted well, 
And soup that charmed the taste and smell, 
And pounded fruits of bitter taste, 
And many a bath was ready placed 
Down by each river's shelving side 
There stood great basins well supplied, 
And laid therein, of dazzling sheen, 
White brushes for the teeth were seen, 
And many a covered box wherein 
Was sandal powdered for the skin. 
And mirrors bright with constant care, 
And piles of new attire were there, 
And store of sandals and of shoes, 
Thousands of pairs, for all to choose: 
Eye-unguents, combs for hair and beard, 
Umbrellas fair and bows appeared. 
Lakes gleamed, that lent digestive aid, 368 
And some for pleasant bathing made, 
With waters fair, and smooth incline 
For camels, horses, mules, and kine. 
There saw they barley heaped on high 
The countless cattle to supply: 
The golden grain shone fair and bright 
As sapphires or the lazulite. 
To all the gathered host it seemed 
As if that magic scene they dreamed, 
And wonder, as they gazed, increased 
At Bharadvaja's glorious feast. 

368 The poet does not tell us what these lakes contained. 

702 The Ramayana 

Thus in the hermit's grove they spent 
That night in joy and merriment, 
Blest as the Gods who take their ease 
Under the shade of Nandan's trees. 
Each minstrel bade the saint adieu, 
And to his blissful mansion flew, 
And every stream and heavenly dame 
Returned as swiftly as she came. 

Canto XCII. Bharat's Farewell. 

So Bharat with his army spent 
The watches of the night content, 
And gladly, with the morning's light 
Drew near his host the anchorite. 
When Bharadvaja saw him stand 
With hand in reverence joined to hand, 
When fires of worship had been fed, 
He looked upon the prince and said: 
"O blameless son, I pray thee tell, 
Did the past night content thee well? 
Say if the feast my care supplied 
Thy host of followers gratified." 

Canto XCII. Bharat's Farewell. 703 

His hands he joined, his head he bent 
And spoke in answer reverent 
To the most high and radiant sage 
Who issued from his hermitage: 
"Well have I passed the night: thy feast 
Gave joy to every man and beast; 
And I, great lord, and every peer 
Were satisfied with sumptuous cheer, 
Thy banquet has delighted all 
From highest chief to meanest thrall, 
And rich attire and drink and meat 
Banished the thought of toil and heat. 
And now, O Hermit good and great, 
A boon of thee I supplicate. 
To Rama's side my steps I bend: 
Do thou with friendly eye commend. 
O tell me how to guide my feet 
To virtuous Rama's lone retreat: 
Great Hermit, I entreat thee, say 
How far from here and which the way." 

Thus by fraternal love inspired 
The chieftain of the saint inquired: 
Then thus replied the glorious seer 
Of matchless might, of vows austere: 
"Ere the fourth league from here be passed, 
Amid a forest wild and vast, 
Stands Chitrakuta's mountain tall, 
Lovely with wood and waterfall. 
North of the mountain thou wilt see 
The beauteous stream Mandakini, 
Where swarm the waterfowl below, 
And gay trees on the margin grow. 
Then will a leafy cot between 

704 The Ramayana 

The river and the hill be seen: 
'Tis Rama's, and the princely pair 
Of brothers live for certain there. 
Hence to the south thine army lead, 
And then more southward still proceed, 
So shalt thou find his lone retreat, 
And there the son of Raghu meet." 

Soon as the ordered march they knew, 
The widows of the monarch flew, 
Leaving their cars, most meet to ride, 
And flocked to Bharadvaja's side. 
There with the good Sumitra Queen 
Kausalya, sad and worn, was seen, 
Caressing, still with sorrow faint, 
The feet of that illustrious saint, 
Kaikeyi too, her longings crossed, 
Reproached of all, her object lost, 
[201] Before the famous hermit came, 

And clasped his feet, o'erwhelmed with shame. 

With circling steps she humbly went 

Around the saint preeminent, 

And stood not far from Bharat's side 

With heart oppressed, and heavy-eyed. 

Then the great seer, who never broke 

One holy vow, to Bharat spoke: 

"Speak, Raghu's son: I fain would learn 

The story of each queen in turn." 

Canto XCII. Bharat's Farewell. 705 

Obedient to the high request 
By Bharadvaja thus addressed, 
His reverent hands together laid, 
He, skilled in speech, his answer made: 
"She whom, O Saint, thou seest here 
A Goddess in her form appear, 
Was the chief consort of the king, 
Now worn with fast and sorrowing. 
As Aditi in days of yore 
The all-preserving Vishnu bore, 
Kausalya bore with happy fate 
Lord Rama of the lion's gait. 
She who, transfixed with torturing pangs, 
On her left arm so fondly hangs, 
As when her withering leaves decay 
Droops by the wood the Cassia spray, 
Sumitra, pained with woe, is she, 
The consort second of the three: 
Two princely sons the lady bare, 
Fair as the Gods in heaven are fair. 
And she, the wicked dame through whom 
My brothers' lives are wrapped in gloom, 
And mourning for his offspring dear, 
The king has sought his heavenly sphere, — 
Proud, foolish-hearted, swift to ire, 
Self-fancied darling of my sire, 
Kaikeyi, most ambitious queen, 
Unlovely with her lovely mien, 
My mother she, whose impious will 
Is ever bent on deeds of ill, 
In whom the root and spring I see 
Of all this woe which crushes me." 

706 The Ramayana 

Quick breathing like a furious snake, 
With tears and sobs the hero spake, 
With reddened eyes aglow with rage. 
And Bharadvaja, mighty sage, 
Supreme in wisdom, calm and grave, 
In words like these good counsel gave: 
"O Bharat, hear the words I say; 
On her the fault thou must not lay: 
For many a blessing yet will spring 
From banished Rama's wandering." 
And Bharat, with that promise cheered, 
Went circling round that saint revered, 
He humbly bade farewell, and then 
Gave orders to collect his men. 
Prompt at the summons thousands flew 
To cars which noble coursers drew, 
Bright-gleaming, glorious to behold, 
Adorned with wealth of burnished gold. 
Then female elephants and male, 
Gold-girthed, with flags that wooed the gale, 
Marched with their bright bells' tinkling chime 
Like clouds when ends the summer time: 
Some cars were huge and some were light, 
For heavy draught or rapid flight, 
Of costly price, of every kind, 
With clouds of infantry behind. 
The dames, Kausalya at their head, 
Were in the noblest chariots led, 
And every gentle bosom beat 
With hope the banished prince to meet. 
The royal Bharat, glory-crowned, 
With all his retinue around, 
Borne in a beauteous litter rode, 
Like the young moon and sun that glowed. 

Canto XCIII. Chitrakuta In Sight. 707 

The army as it streamed along, 
Cars, elephants, in endless throng, 
Showed, marching on its southward way, 
Like autumn clouds in long array. 

Canto XCIII. Chitrakuta In Sight. 

As through the woods its way pursued 
That mighty bannered multitude, 
Wild elephants in terror fled 
With all the startled herds they led, 
And bears and deer were seen on hill, 
In forest glade, by every rill. 
Wide as the sea from coast to coast, 
The high-souled Bharat's mighty host 
Covered the earth as cloudy trains 
Obscure the sky when fall the rains. 
The stately elephants he led, 
And countless steeds the land o'erspread, 
So closely crowded that between 
Their serried ranks no ground was seen. 
Then when the host had travelled far, 
And steeds were worn who drew the car, 
The glorious Bharat thus addressed 
Vasishtha, of his lords the best: 
"The spot, methinks, we now behold 
Of which the holy hermit told, 
For, as his words described, I trace 
Each several feature of the place: 
Before us Chitrakuta shows, 
Mandakini beside us flows: 

708 The Ramayana 

Afar umbrageous woods arise 
Like darksome clouds that veil the skies. 
Now tread these mountain-beasts of mine 
On Chitrakuta's fair incline. 
The trees their rain of blossoms shed 
On table-lands beneath them spread, 
As from black clouds the floods descend 
When the hot days of summer end. 
Satrughna, look, the mountain see 
[202] Where heavenly minstrels wander free, 

And horses browse beneath the steep, 
Countless as monsters in the deep. 
Scared by my host the mountain deer 
Starting with tempest speed appear 
Like the long lines of cloud that fly 
In autumn through the windy sky. 
See, every warrior shows his head 
With fragrant blooms engarlanded; 
All look like southern soldiers who 
Lift up their shields of azure hue. 
This lonely wood beneath the hill, 
That was so dark and drear and still, 
Covered with men in endless streams 
Now like Ayodhya's city seems. 
The dust which countless hoofs excite 
Obscures the sky and veils the light; 
But see, swift winds those clouds dispel 
As if they strove to please me well. 
See, guided in their swift career 
By many a skilful charioteer, 
Those cars by fleetest coursers drawn 
Race onward over glade and lawn. 
Look, startled as the host comes near 
The lovely peacocks fly in fear, 

Canto XCIII. Chitrakuta In Sight. 709 

Gorgeous as if the fairest blooms 
Of earth had glorified their plumes. 
Look where the sheltering covert shows 
The trooping deer, both bucks and does, 
That occupy in countless herds 
This mountain populous with birds. 
Most lovely to my mind appears 
This place which every charm endears: 
Fair as the road where tread the Blest; 
Here holy hermits take their rest. 
Then let the army onward press 
And duly search each green recess 
For the two lion-lords, till we 
Rama once more and Lakshman see." 

Thus Bharat spoke: and hero bands 
Of men with weapons in their hands 
Entered the tangled forest: then 
A spire of smoke appeared in ken. 
Soon as they saw the rising smoke 
To Bharat they returned and spoke: 
"No fire where men are not: 'tis clear 
That Raghu's sons are dwelling here. 
Or if not here those heroes dwell 
Whose mighty arms their foeman quell, 
Still other hermits here must be 
Like Rama, true and good as he." 

His ears attentive Bharat lent 
To their resistless argument, 
Then to his troops the chief who broke 
His foe's embattled armies spoke: 
"Here let the troops in silence stay; 
One step beyond they must not stray. 

710 The Ramayana 

Come Dhrishti and Sumantra, you 
With me alone the path pursue." 
Their leader's speech the warriors heard, 
And from his place no soldier stirred, 
And Bharat bent his eager eyes 
Where curling smoke was seen to rise. 

The host his order well obeyed, 
And halting there in silence stayed 
Watching where from the thicket's shade 

They saw the smoke appear. 
And joy through all the army ran, 
"Soon shall we meet," thought every man, 

"The prince we hold so dear." 

Canto XCIV. Chitrakuta. 

There long the son of Raghu dwelt 
And love for hill and wood he felt. 
Then his Videhan spouse to please 
And his own heart of woe to ease, 
Like some Immortal — Indra so 
Might Swarga's charms to Sachi show — 
Drew her sweet eyes to each delight 
Of Chitrakuta's lovely height: 
"Though reft of power and kingly sway, 
Though friends and home are far away, 
I cannot mourn my altered lot, 
Enamoured of this charming spot. 
Look, darling, on this noble hill 
Which sweet birds with their music fill, 

Canto XCIV. Chitrakuta. 7 1 1 

Bright with a thousand metal dyes 

His lofty summits cleave the skies. 

See, there a silvery sheen is spread, 

And there like blood the rocks are red. 

There shows a streak of emerald green, 

And pink and yellow glow between. 

There where the higher peaks ascend, 

Crystal and flowers and topaz blend, 

And others flash their light afar 

Like mercury or some fair star: 

With such a store of metals dyed 

The king of hills is glorified. 

There through the wild birds' populous home 

The harmless bear and tiger roam: 

Hyaenas range the woody slopes 

With herds of deer and antelopes. 

See, love, the trees that clothe his side 

All lovely in their summer pride, 

In richest wealth of leaves arrayed, 

With flower and fruit and light and shade, 

Look where the young Rose-apple glows; 

What loaded boughs the Mango shows; 

See, waving in the western wind 

The light leaves of the Tamarind, 

And mark that giant Peepul through 

The feathery clump of tall bamboo. 369 [203] 

Look, on the level lands above, 

Delighting in successful love 

which Carey and Marshman thus render: "This mountain adorned with mango, 
jumboo, usuna, lodhra, piala, punusa, dhava, unkotha, bhuvya, tinisha, vilwa, 
tindooka, bamboo, kashmaree, urista, uruna, madhooka, tilaka, vuduree, am- 
luka, nipa, vetra, dhunwuna, veejaka, and other trees affording flowers, and 
fruits, and the most delightful shade, how charming does it appear!" 

712 The Ramayana 

In sweet enjoyment many a pair 
Of heavenly minstrels revels there, 
While overhanging boughs support 
Their swords and mantles as they sport: 
Then see that pleasant shelter where 
Play the bright Daughters of the Air. 370 
The mountain seems with bright cascade 
And sweet rill bursting from the shade, 
Like some majestic elephant o'er 
Whose burning head the torrents pour. 
Where breathes the man who would not feel 
Delicious languor o'er him steal, 
As the young morning breeze that springs 
From the cool cave with balmy wings, 
Breathes round him laden with the scent 
Of bud and blossom dew-besprent? 
If many autumns here I spent 
With thee, my darling innocent, 
And Lakshman, I should never know 
The torture of the fires of woe, 
This varied scene so charms my sight, 
This mount so fills me with delight, 
Where flowers in wild profusion spring, 
And ripe fruits glow and sweet birds sing. 
My beauteous one, a double good 
Springs from my dwelling in the wood: 
Loosed is the bond my sire that tied, 
And Bharat too is gratified. 
My darling, dost thou feel with me 
Delight from every charm we see, 
Of which the mind and every sense 
Feel the enchanting influence? 

370 Vidyadharis, Spirits of Air, sylphs. 

Canto XCIV. Chitrakuta. 713 

My fathers who have passed away, 
The royal saints, were wont to say, 
That life in woodland shades like this 
Secures a king immortal bliss. 
See, round the hill at random thrown, 
Huge masses lie of rugged stone 
Of every shape and many a hue, 
Yellow and white and red and blue. 
But all is fairer still by night: 
Each rock reflects a softer light, 
When the whole mount from foot to crest 
In robes of lambent flame is dressed; 
When from a million herbs a blaze 
Of their own luminous glory plays, 
And clothed in fire each deep ravine, 
Each pinnacle and crag is seen. 
Some parts the look of mansions wear, 
And others are as gardens fair, 
While others seem a massive block 
Of solid undivided rock. 
Behold those pleasant beds o'erlaid 
With lotus leaves, for lovers made, 
Where mountain birch and costus throw 
Cool shadows on the pair below. 
See where the lovers in their play 
Have cast their flowery wreaths away, 
And fruit and lotus buds that crowned 
Their brows lie trodden on the ground. 
North Kuru's realm is fair to see, 
Vasvaukasara, 371 Nalini, 372 
But rich in fruit and blossom still 

371 A lake attached either to Amaravatf the residence of Indra, or Alaka that of 


The Ganges of heaven. 

714 The Ramayana 

More fair is Chitrakuta's hill. 
Here shall the years appointed glide 
With thee, my beauty, by my side, 

And Lakshman ever near; 
Here shall I live in all delight, 
Make my ancestral fame more bright, 
Tread in their path who walk aright, 

And to my oath adhere." 

Canto XCV. Mandakini. 

Then Rama, like the lotus eyed, 
Descended from the mountain side, 
And to the Maithil lady showed 
The lovely stream that softly flowed. 
And thus Ayodhya's lord addressed 
His bride, of dames the loveliest, 
Child of Videha's king, her face 
Bright with the fair moon's tender grace: 
"How sweetly glides, O darling, look, 
Mandakinfs delightful brook, 
Adorned with islets, blossoms gay, 
[204] And sarases and swans at play ! 

The trees with which her banks are lined 

Show flowers and fruit of every kind: 

The match in radiant sheen is she 

Of King Kuvera's Nalini. 373 

My heart exults with pleasure new 

The shelving band and ford to view, 

373 Nalini, as here, may be the name of any lake covered with lotuses. 

Canto XCV. Mandakini. 715 

Where gathering herds of thirsty deer 

Disturb the wave that ran so clear. 

Now look, those holy hermits mark 

In skins of deer and coats of bark; 

With twisted coils of matted hair, 

The reverend men are bathing there, 

And as they lift their arms on high 

The Lord of Day they glorify: 

These best of saints, my large-eyed spouse, 

Are constant to their sacred vows. 

The mountain dances while the trees 

Bend their proud summits to the breeze, 

And scatter many a flower and bud 

From branches that o'erhang the flood. 

There flows the stream like lucid pearl, 

Round islets here the currents whirl, 

And perfect saints from middle air 

Are flocking to the waters there. 

See, there lie flowers in many a heap 

From boughs the whistling breezes sweep, 

And others wafted by the gale 

Down the swift current dance and sail. 

Now see that pair of wild-fowl rise, 

Exulting with their joyful cries: 

Hark, darling, wafted from afar 

How soft their pleasant voices are. 

To gaze on Chitrakuta's hill, 

To look upon this lovely rill, 

To bend mine eyes on thee, dear wife, 

Is sweeter than my city life. 

Come, bathe we in the pleasant rill 

Whose dancing waves are never still, 

Stirred by those beings pure from sin, 

The sanctities who bathe therein: 

716 The Ramayana 

Come, dearest, to the stream descend, 
Approach her as a darling friend, 
And dip thee in the silver flood 
Which lotuses and lilies stud. 
Let this fair hill Ayodhya seem, 
Its silvan things her people deem, 
And let these waters as they flow 
Our own beloved Sarjii show. 
How blest, mine own dear love, am I; 
Thou, fond and true, art ever nigh, 
And duteous, faithful Lakshman stays 
Beside me, and my word obeys. 
Here every day I bathe me thrice, 
Fruit, honey, roots for food suffice, 
And ne'er my thoughts with longing stray 
To distant home or royal sway. 
For who this charming brook can see 
Where herds of roedeer wander free, 
And on the flowery-wooded brink 
Apes, elephants, and lions drink, 

Nor feel all sorrow fly?" 
Thus eloquently spoke the pride 
Of Raghu's children to his bride, 
And wandered happy by her side 
Where Chitrakuta azure-dyed 

Uprears his peaks on high. 

Canto XCVI. The Magic Shaft. 374 

This canto is allowed, by Indian commentators, to be an interpolation. It 
cannot be the work of Valmfki. 

Canto XCVI. The Magic Shaft. 717 

Thus Rama showed to Janak's child 

The varied beauties of the wild, 

The hill, the brook and each fair spot, 

Then turned to seek their leafy cot. 

North of the mountain Rama found 

A cavern in the sloping ground, 

Charming to view, its floor was strown 

With many a mass of ore and stone, 

In secret shadow far retired 

Where gay birds sang with joy inspired, 

And trees their graceful branches swayed 

With loads of blossom downward weighed. 

Soon as he saw the cave which took 

Each living heart and chained the look, 

Thus Rama spoke to Sita who 

Gazed wondering on the silvan view: 

"Does this fair cave beneath the height, 

Videhan lady, charm thy sight? 

Then let us resting here a while 

The languor of the way beguile. 

That block of stone so smooth and square 

Was set for thee to rest on there, 

And like a thriving Kesar tree 

This flowery shrub o'ershadows thee." 

Thus Rama spoke, and Janak's child, 

By nature ever soft and mild, 

In tender words which love betrayed 

Her answer to the hero made: 

"O pride of Raghu's children, still 

My pleasure is to do thy will. 

Enough for me thy wish to know: 

Far hast thou wandered to and fro." 

718 The Ramayana 

Thus Sita spake in gentle tone, 
And went obedient to the stone, 
Of perfect face and faultless limb 
Prepared to rest a while with him. 
And Rama, as she thus replied, 
Turned to his spouse again and cried: 
"Thou seest, love, this flowery shade 
For silvan creatures' pleasure made, 
How the gum streams from trees and plants 
[205] Torn by the tusks of elephants! 

Through all the forest clear and high 

Resounds the shrill cicala's cry. 

Hark how the kite above us moans, 

And calls her young in piteous tones; 

So may my hapless mother be 

Still mourning in her home for me. 

There mounted on that lofty Sal 

The loud Bhringraj 375 repeats his call: 

How sweetly now he tunes his throat 

Responsive to the Koil's note. 

Or else the bird that now has sung 

May be himself the Koil's young, 

Linked with such winning sweetness are 

The notes he pours irregular. 

See, round the blooming Mango clings 

That creeper with her tender rings, 

So in thy love, when none is near, 

Thine arms are thrown round me, my dear." 

Thus in his joy he cried; and she, 
Sweet speaker, on her lover's knee, 
Of faultless limb and perfect face, 
Grew closer to her lord's embrace. 

375 A fine bird with a strong, sweet note, and great imitative powers. 

Canto XCVI. The Magic Shaft. 719 

Reclining in her husband's arms, 

A goddess in her wealth of charms, 

She filled his loving breast anew 

With mighty joy that thrilled him through. 

His finger on the rock he laid, 

Which veins of sanguine ore displayed, 

And painted o'er his darling's eyes 

The holy sign in mineral dyes. 

Bright on her brow the metal lay 

Like the young sun's first gleaming ray, 

And showed her in her beauty fair 

As the soft light of morning's air. 

Then from the Kesar's laden tree 

He picked fair blossoms in his glee, 

And as he decked each lovely tress, 

His heart o'erflowed with happiness. 

So resting on that rocky seat 

A while they spent in pastime sweet, 

Then onward neath the shady boughs 

Went Rama with his Maithil spouse. 

She roaming in the forest shade 

Where every kind of creature strayed 

Observed a monkey wandering near, 

And clung to Rama's arm in fear. 

The hero Rama fondly laced 

His mighty arms around her waist, 

Consoled his beauty in her dread, 

And scared the Monkey till he fled. 

That holy mark of sanguine ore 

That gleamed on Sita's brow before, 

Shone by that close embrace impressed 

Upon the hero's ample chest. 

Then Sita, when the beast who led 

The monkey troop, afar had fled, 

720 The Ramayana 

Laughed loudly in light-hearted glee 

That mark on Rama's chest to see. 

A clump of bright Asokas fired 

The forest in their bloom attired: 

The restless blossoms as they gleamed 

A host of threatening monkeys seemed. 

Then Sita thus to Rama cried, 

As longingly the flowers she eyed: 

"Pride of thy race, now let us go 

Where those Asoka blossoms grow." 

He on his darling's pleasure bent 

With his fair goddess thither went 

And roamed delighted through the wood 

Where blossoming Asokas stood, 

As Siva with Queen Uma roves 

Through Himavan's majestic groves. 

Bright with purpureal glow the pair 

Of happy lovers sported there, 

And each upon the other set 

A flower-inwoven coronet. 

There many a crown and chain they wove 

Of blooms from that Asoka grove, 

And in their graceful sport the two 

Fresh beauty o'er the mountain threw. 

The lover let his love survey 

Each pleasant spot that round them lay, 

Then turned they to their green retreat 

Where all was garnished, gay, and neat. 

By brotherly affection led, 

Sumitra's son to meet them sped, 

And showed the labours of the day 

Done while his brother was away. 

There lay ten black-deer duly slain 

With arrows pure of poison stain, 

Canto XCVI. The Magic Shaft. 721 

Piled in a mighty heap to dry, 

With many another carcass nigh. 

And Lakshman's brother saw, o'erjoyed, 

The work that had his hands employed, 

Then to his consort thus he cried: 

"Now be the general gifts supplied." 

Then Sita, fairest beauty, placed 

The food for living things to taste, 

And set before the brothers meat 

And honey that the pair might eat. 

They ate the meal her hands supplied, 

Their lips with water purified: 

Then Janak's daughter sat at last 

And duly made her own repast. 

The other venison, to be dried, 

Piled up in heaps was set aside, 

And Rama told his wife to stay 

And drive the flocking crows away. 

Her husband saw her much distressed 

By one more bold than all the rest, 

Whose wings where'er he chose could fly, 

Now pierce the earth, now roam the sky. 

Then Rama laughed to see her stirred 

To anger by the plaguing bird: 

Proud of his love the beauteous dame 

With burning rage was all aflame. 

Now here, now there, again, again 

She chased the crow, but all in vain, 

Enraging her, so quick to strike [206] 

With beak and wing and claw alike: 

Then how the proud lip quivered, how 

The dark frown marked her angry brow ! 

When Rama saw her cheek aglow 

With passion, he rebuked the crow. 

722 The Ramayana 

But bold in impudence the bird, 
With no respect for Rama's word, 
Fearless again at Sita flew: 
Then Rama's wrath to fury grew. 
The hero of the mighty arm 
Spoke o'er a shaft the mystic charm, 
Laid the dire weapon on his bow 
And launched it at the shameless crow. 
The bird, empowered by Gods to spring 
Through earth itself on rapid wing, 
Through the three worlds in terror fled 
Still followed by that arrow dread. 
Where'er he flew, now here now there, 
A cloud of weapons filled the air. 
Back to the high-souled prince he fled 
And bent at Rama's feet his head, 
And then, as Sita looked, began 
His speech in accents of a man: 
"O pardon, and for pity's sake 
Spare, Rama, spare my life to take! 
Where'er I turn, where'er I flee, 
No shelter from this shaft I see." 

The chieftain heard the crow entreat 
Helpless and prostrate at his feet, 
And while soft pity moved his breast, 
With wisest speech the bird addressed: 
"I took the troubled Sita's part, 
And furious anger filled my heart. 
Then on the string my arrow lay 
Charmed with a spell thy life to slay. 
Thou seekest now my feet, to crave 
Forgiveness and thy life to save. 
So shall thy prayer have due respect: 

Canto XCVII. Lakshman's Anger. 723 

The suppliant I must still protect. 
But ne'er in vain this dart may flee; 
Yield for thy life a part of thee, 
What portion of thy body, say, 
Shall this mine arrow rend away? 
Thus far, O bird, thus far alone 
On thee my pity may be shown. 
Forfeit a part thy life to buy: 
'Tis better so to live than die." 
Thus Rama spoke: the bird of air 
Pondered his speech with anxious care, 
And wisely deemed it good to give 
One of his eyes that he might live. 
To Raghu's son he made reply: 
"O Rama, I will yield an eye. 
So let me in thy grace confide 
And live hereafter single-eyed." 
Then Rama charged the shaft, and lo, 
Full in the eye it smote the crow. 
And the Videhan lady gazed 
Upon the ruined eye amazed. 
The crow to Rama humbly bent, 
Then where his fancy led he went. 
Rama with Lakshman by his side 
With needful work was occupied. 

Canto XCVII. Lakshman's Anger. 

724 The Ramayana 

Thus Rama showed his love the rill 

Whose waters ran beneath the hill, 

Then resting on his mountain seat 

Refreshed her with the choicest meat. 

So there reposed the happy two: 

Then Bharat's army nearer drew: 

Rose to the skies a dusty cloud, 

The sound of trampling feet was loud. 

The swelling roar of marching men 

Drove the roused tiger from his den, 

And scared amain the serpent race 

Flying to hole and hiding-place. 

The herds of deer in terror fled, 

The air was filled with birds o'erhead, 

The bear began to leave his tree, 

The monkey to the cave to flee. 

Wild elephants were all amazed 

As though the wood around them blazed. 

The lion oped his ponderous jaw, 

The buffalo looked round in awe. 

The prince, who heard the deafening sound, 

And saw the silvan creatures round 

Fly wildly startled from their rest, 

The glorious Lakshman thus addressed: 

"Sumitra's noble son most dear, 

Hark, Lakshman, what a roar I hear, 

The tumult of a coming crowd, 

Appalling, deafening, deep, and loud! 

The din that yet more fearful grows 

Scares elephants and buffaloes, 

Or frightened by the lions, deer 

Are flying through the wood in fear. 

I fain would know who seeks this place 

Comes prince or monarch for the chase? 

Canto XCVII. Lakshman's Anger. 725 

Or does some mighty beast of prey 
Frighten the silvan herds away? 
Tis hard to reach this mountain height, 
Yea, e'en for birds in airy flight. 
Then fain, O Lakshman, would I know 
What cause disturbs the forest so." 

Lakshman in haste, the wood to view, 
Climbed a high Sal that near him grew, 
The forest all around he eyed, 
First gazing on the eastern side. 
Then northward when his eyes he bent 
He saw a mighty armament 
Of elephants, and cars, and horse, 
And men on foot, a mingled force, 
And banners waving in the breeze, 
And spoke to Rama words like these: 
"Quick, quick, my lord, put out the fire, 

Let Sita to the cave retire. [207] 

Thy coat of mail around thee throw, 
Prepare thine arrows and thy bow." 

In eager haste thus Lakshman cried, 
And Rama, lion lord, replied: 
"Still closer be the army scanned, 
And say who leads the warlike band." 
Lakshman his answer thus returned, 
As furious rage within him burned, 
Exciting him like kindled fire 
To scorch the army in his ire: 
"Tis Bharat: he has made the throne 
By consecrating rites his own: 
To gain the whole dominion thus 
He comes in arms to slaughter us. 

726 The Ramayana 

I mark tree-high upon his car 

His flagstaff of the Kovidar, 376 

I see his glittering banner glance, 

I see his chivalry advance: 

I see his eager warriors shine 

On elephants in lengthened line. 

Now grasp we each the shafts and bow, 

And higher up the mountain go. 

Or in this place, O hero, stand 

With weapons in each ready hand. 

Perhaps beneath our might may fall 

This leader of the standard tall, 

And Bharat I this day may see 

Who brought this mighty woe on thee, 

Sita, and me, who drove away 

My brother from the royal sway. 

Bharat our foe at length is nigh, 

And by this hand shall surely die: 

Brother, I see no sin at all 

If Bharat by my weapon fall. 

No fault is his who slays the foe 

Whose hand was first to strike the blow: 

With Bharat now the crime begins 

Who against thee and duty sins. 

The queen athirst for royal sway 

Will see her darling son to-day 

Fall by this hand, like some fair tree 

Struck by an elephant, slain by me. 

Kaikeyfs self shall perish too 

With kith and kin and retinue, 

And earth by my avenging deed 

Shall from this mass of sin be freed. 

376 Bauhinea variegata, a species of ebony. 

Canto XCVIII. Lakshman Calmed. 727 

This day my wrath, too long restrained, 
Shall fall upon the foe, unchained, 
Mad as the kindled flame that speeds 
Destroying through the grass and reeds. 
This day mine arrows keen and fierce 
The bodies of the foe shall pierce: 
The woods on Chitrakuta's side 
Shall run with torrents crimson-dyed. 
The wandering beasts of prey shall feed 
On heart-cleft elephant and steed, 
And drag to mountain caves away 
The bodies that my arrows slay. 
Doubt not that Bharat and his train 
Shall in this mighty wood be slain: 
So shall I pay the debt my bow 
And these my deadly arrows owe." 

Canto XCVIII. Lakshman Calmed. 

Then Rama nobly calm allayed 
The wrath that Lakshman's bosom swayed: 
"What need have we the sword to wield, 
To bend the bow or lift the shield, 
If Bharat brave, and wise, and good, 
Himself has sought this sheltering wood? 
I sware my father's will to do, 
And if I now my brother slew 
What gain in kingship should I find, 
Despised and scorned by all mankind? 
Believe me, e'en as I would shrink 
From poisoned meat or deadly drink, 

728 The Ramayana 

No power or treasure would I win 

By fall of friend or kith or kin. 

Brother, believe the words I speak: 

For your dear sakes alone I seek 

Duty and pleasure, wealth and gain: 

A holy life, a happy reign. 

If royal sway my heart desires, 

My brothers' weal the wish inspires: 

Their bliss and safety is my care, 

By this uplifted bow I swear. 

Twere not so hard for me to gain 

This broad land girdled by the main, 

But even Indra's royal might 

Should ne'er be mine in duty's spite. 

If any bliss my soul can see 

Deprived of dear Satrughna, thee, 

And Bharat, may the flame destroy 

With ashy gloom the selfish joy. 

Far dearer than this life of mine, 

Knowing the custom of our line, 

His heart with fond affection fraught, 

Bharat Ayodhya's town resought 

And hearing when he came that I, 

With thee and Sita, forced to fly 

With matted hair and hermit dress 

Am wandering in the wilderness. 

While grief his troubled senses storms, 

And tender love his bosom warms, 

From every thought of evil clear, 

Is come to meet his brother here. 

Some grievous words perchance he spoke 

Kaikeyfs anger to provoke, 

Then won the king, and comes to lay 

Before my feet the royal sway. 

Canto XCVIII. Lakshman Calmed. 729 

Hither, methinks, in season due 

Comes Bharat for an interview, 

Nor in his secret heart has he 

One evil thought 'gainst thee or me. 

What has he done ere now, reflect! 

How failed in love or due respect [208] 

To make thee doubt his faith and lay 

This evil to his charge to-day? 

Thou shouldst not join with Bharat's name 

So harsh a speech and idle blame. 

The blows thy tongue at Bharat deals, 

My sympathizing bosom feels. 

How, urged by stress of any ill, 

Should sons their father's life-blood spill, 

Or brother slay in impious strife 

A brother dearer than his life? 

If thou these cruel words hast said 

By strong desire of empire led, 

My brother Bharat will I pray 

To give to thee the kingly sway. 

"Give him the realm," my speech shall be, 

And Bharat will, methinks, agree." 

Thus spoke the prince whose chief delight 
Was duty, and to aid the right: 
And Lakshman keenly felt the blame, 
And shrank within himself for shame: 
And then his answer thus returned, 
With downcast eye and cheek that burned: 
"Brother, I ween, to see thy face 
Our sire himself has sought this place." 
Thus Lakshman spoke and stood ashamed, 
And Rama saw and thus exclaimed: 
"It is the strong-armed monarch: he 

730 The Ramayana 

Is come, methinks, his sons to see, 
To bid us both the forest quit 
For joys for which he deems us fit: 
He thinks on all our care and pain, 
And now would lead us home again. 
My glorious father hence will bear 
Sita who claims all tender care. 
I see two coursers fleet as storms, 
Of noble breed and lovely forms. 
I see the beast of mountain size 
Who bears the king our father wise, 
The aged Victor, march this way 
In front of all the armed array. 
But doubt and fear within me rise, 
For when I look with eager eyes 
I see no white umbrella spread, 
World-famous, o'er the royal head. 
Now, Lakshman, from the tree descend, 
And to my words attention lend." 

Thus spoke the pious prince: and he 
Descended from the lofty tree, 
And reverent hand to hand applied, 
Stood humbly by his brother's side. 

The host, compelled by Bharat's care, 
The wood from trampling feet to spare, 
Dense crowding half a league each way 
Encamped around the mountain lay. 
Below the tall hill's shelving side 
Gleamed the bright army far and wide 

Spread o'er the ample space, 
By Bharat led who firmly true 
In duty from his bosom threw 

Canto XCIX. Bharat's Approach. 73 1 

All pride, and near his brother drew 
To win the hero's grace. 

Canto XCIX. Bharat's Approach. 

Soon as the warriors took their rest 
Obeying Bharat's high behest, 
Thus Bharat to Satrughna spake: 
"A band of soldiers with thee take, 
And with these hunters o'er and o'er 
The thickets of the wood explore. 
With bow, sword, arrows in their hands 
Let Guha with his kindred bands 
Within this grove remaining trace 
The children of Kakutstha's race. 
And I meanwhile on foot will through 
This neighbouring wood my way pursue, 
With elders and the twice-born men, 
And every lord and citizen. 
There is, I feel, no rest for me 
Till Rama's face again I see, 
Lakshman, in arms and glory great, 
And Sita born to happy fate: 
No rest, until his cheek as bright 
As the fair moon rejoice my sight, 
No rest until I see the eye 
With which the lotus petals vie; 
Till on my head those dear feet rest 
With signs of royal rank impressed; 
None, till my kingly brother gain 
His old hereditary reign, 

732 The Ramayana 

Till o'er his limbs and noble head 
The consecrating drops be shed. 
How blest is Janak's daughter, true 
To every wifely duty, who 
Cleaves faithful to her husband's side 
Whose realm is girt by Ocean's tide! 
This mountain too above the rest 
E'en as the King of Hills is blest, — 
Whose shades Kakutstha's scion hold 
As Nandan charms the Lord of Gold. 
Yea, happy is this tangled grove 
Where savage beasts unnumbered rove, 
Where, glory of the Warrior race, 
King Rama finds a dwelling-place." 

Thus Bharat, strong-armed hero spake, 
And walked within the pathless brake. 
O'er plains where gay trees bloomed he went, 
Through boughs in tangled net-work bent, 
And then from Rama's cot appeared 
The banner which the flame upreared. 
And Bharat joyed with every friend 
To mark those smoky wreaths ascend: 
"Here Rama dwells," he thought; "at last 
The ocean of our toil is passed." 

Then sure that Rama's hermit cot 
Was on the mountain's side 

He stayed his army on the spot, 
And on with Guha hied. 


Canto C. The Meeting. 733 

Canto C. The Meeting. 

Then Bharat to Satrughna showed 
The spot, and eager onward strode, 
First bidding Saint Vasishtha bring 
The widowed consorts of the king. 
As by fraternal love impelled 
His onward course the hero held, 
Sumantra followed close behind 
Satrughna with an anxious mind: 
Not Bharat's self more fain could be 
To look on Rama's face than he. 
As, speeding on, the spot he neared, 
Amid the hermits' homes appeared 
His brother's cot with leaves o'erspread, 
And by its side a lowly shed. 
Before the shed great heaps were left 
Of gathered flowers and billets cleft, 
And on the trees hung grass and bark 
Rama and Lakshman's path to mark: 
And heaps of fuel to provide 
Against the cold stood ready dried. 
The long-armed chief, as on he went 
In glory's light preeminent, 
With joyous words like these addressed 
The brave Satrughna and the rest: 
"This is the place, I little doubt, 
Which Bharadvaja pointed out, 
Not far from where we stand must be 
The woodland stream, Mandakini. 
Here on the mountain's woody side 
Roam elephants in tusked pride, 
And ever with a roar and cry 
Each other, as they meet, defy. 

734 The Ramayana 

And see those smoke-wreaths thick and dark: 

The presence of the flame they mark, 

Which hermits in the forest strive 

By every art to keep alive. 

O happy me! my task is done, 

And I shall look on Raghu's son, 

Like some great saint, who loves to treat 

His elders with all reverence meet." 

Thus Bharat reached that forest rill, 
Thus roamed on Chitrakuta's hill; 
Then pity in his breast awoke, 
And to his friends the hero spoke: 
"Woe, woe upon my life and birth! 
The prince of men, the lord of earth 
Has sought the lonely wood to dwell 
Sequestered in a hermit's cell. 
Through me, through me these sorrows fall 
On him the splendid lord of all: 
Through me resigning earthly bliss 
He hides him in a home like this. 
Now will I, by the world abhorred, 
Fall at the dear feet of my lord, 
And at fair Sita's too, to win 
His pardon for my heinous sin." 

As thus he sadly mourned and sighed, 
The son of Dasaratha spied 
A bower of leafy branches made, 
Sacred and lovely in the shade, 
Of fair proportions large and tall, 
Well roofed with boughs of palm, and Sal, 
Arranged in order due o'erhead 
Like grass upon an altar spread. 

Canto C. The Meeting. 735 

Two glorious bows were gleaming there, 
Like Indra's 377 in the rainy air, 
Terror of foemen, backed with gold, 
Meet for the mightiest hand to hold: 
And quivered arrows cast a blaze 
Bright gleaming like the Day-God's rays: 
Thus serpents with their eyes aglow 
Adorn their capital below. 378 
Great swords adorned the cottage, laid 
Each in a case of gold brocade; 
There hung the trusty shields, whereon 
With purest gold the bosses shone. 
The brace to bind the bowman's arm, 
The glove to shield his hand from harm, 
A lustre to the cottage lent 
From many a golden ornament: 
Safe was the cot from fear of men 
As from wild beasts the lion's den. 
The fire upon the altar burned, 
That to the north and east was turned. 
Bharat his eager glances bent 
And gazed within the cot intent; 
In deerskin dress, with matted hair, 
Rama his chief was sitting there: 
With lion- shoulders broad and strong, 
With lotus eyes, arms thick and long. 
The righteous sovereign, who should be 
Lord paramount from sea to sea, 
High-minded, born to lofty fate, 
Like Brahma's self supremely great; 
With Lakshman by his side, and her, 
Fair Sita, for his minister. 

378 Bhogavati, the abode of the Nagas or Serpent race. 

736 The Ramayana 

And Bharat gazing, overcome 
By sorrow for a while was dumb, 
Then, yielding to his woe, he ran 
To Rama and with sobs began: 
"He who a royal seat should fill 
With subjects round to do his will, 
My elder brother, — see him here, 
With silvan creatures waiting near. 
The high-souled hero, wont to wear 
The costliest robes exceeding fair, 
Now banished, in a deerskin dress, 
Here keeps the path of righteousness. 
How brooks the son of Raghu now 
The matted locks which load his brow, 
Around whose princely head were twined 
Sweet blossoms of the rarest kind? 
[210] The prince whose merits grew, acquired 

By rites performed as he desired, 
Would now a store of merit gain 
Bought by his body's toil and pain. 
Those limbs to which pure sandal lent 
The freshness of its fragrant scent, 
Exposed to sun, and dust, and rain, 
Are now defiled with many a stain. 
And I the wretched cause why this 
Falls on the prince whose right is bliss! 
Ah me, that ever I was born 
To be the people's hate and scorn!" 

Thus Bharat cried: of anguish sprung, 
Great drops upon his forehead hung. 
He fell o'erpowered — his grief was such — 
Ere he his brother's feet could touch. 
As on the glorious prince he gazed 

Canto CI. Bharata Questioned. 737 

In vain his broken voice he raised: 
"Dear lord" — through tears and sobbing came, 
The only words his lips could frame. 
And brave Satrughna wept aloud, 
As low at Rama's feet he bowed. 
Then Rama, while his tears ran fast, 
His arms around his brothers cast. 
Guha, Sumantra came to meet 
The princes in their wild retreat. 
Vrihaspati and Sukra bright 

Their greeting thus rejoice to pay 
To the dear Lord who brings the night, 

And the great God who rules the day. 
Then wept the dwellers of the shade, 

Whose eyes the princes, meet to ride 
On mighty elephants, surveyed; 
And cast all thought of joy aside. 

Canto CI. Bharata Questioned. 

Then Rama gazed, and scarcely knew 
Bharat so worn and changed in hue. 
He raised him, kissed him on the head, 
Embraced him, and thus kindly said: 
"Where was thy father, brother dear, 
That thou art come to seek me here? 
Unmeet, if he be living yet, 
Thy feet within the wood to set. 
I pray thee now the cause declare 
Why thou hast left the kingdom there, 
With matted locks and deerskin dress 
To roam the distant wilderness." 

738 The Ramayana 

Thus questioned by the prince, at length 
Kaikeyfs son regained his strength, 
And hand to hand in reverence laid, 
To Rama thus his answer made: 
"The great-armed monarch, O my lord, 
Has dared to do a thing abhorred, 
Left us, and grieving for his son, 
A home among the Gods has won. 
My mother Queen Kaikeyi gave 
The order to the king her slave, 
And at the bidding of the dame 
He wrought the sin which mars his fame. 
Athirst for sway, her hopes are crossed, 
She mourns her son, her husband lost, 
And through her impious crime will go 
For punishment to hell below. 
Now O my lord, forgive me all; 
Be gracious to thy lowly thrall: 
Anointed king, accept to-day 
Like Indra's self, the royal sway. 
Be gracious, Prince, to lord and peer, 
And widowed queens who seek thee here 
Accept the kingdom thine by right, 
And so thy faithful friends delight. 
Let the broad land no longer be 
All widowed and forlorn of thee: 
Let the full moon of autumn reign 
Triumphant o'er the night again. 
These lords and I before thee bend: 
O Rama, to our prayer attend. 
O do not thou this grace deny: 
Thy brother, pupil, slave am I. 
Look on this venerable ring, 
Advisers of our sire the king, 

Canto CI. Bharata Questioned. 739 

From age to age so honoured: thou 
Shouldst grant their supplication now." 

As weeping thus the hero prayed, 
His head at Rama's feet he laid. 
Like a mad elephant he sighed: 
And Rama gazed and thus replied: 
"How, brother, can a man of worth, 
True to his vows, of noble birth — 
A man like me, commit a sin 
The lordship of the land to win? 
No slightest shade of fault I see, 
O tamer of thy foes, in thee. 
But ne'er shouldst thou in childish thought 
The queen thy mother blame in aught. 
O brother wise and sinless, know 
The sacred laws would have it so, 
That from good wife and son require 
Obedience to their lord and sire. 
And we are all the king's, for thus 
The virtuous ever reckon us: 
Yea brother, be it known to thee, 
His wives, and sons, and pupils we. 
His is the right, if he deem fit, 
To bid me, throned as monarch, sit, 
Or in a coat of bark expel, 
And deerskin, in the wood to dwell. 
And O remember, best of all 
Who act as claims of duty call, 
As to a virtuous sire is due, 
Such honour claims a mother too. 
So they whose lives have ever been 
By duty led, the king and queen, 
Said, "Rama, seek the forest shade:" 

740 The Ramayana 

And I (what could I else?) obeyed. 
[2ii] Thou must the royal power retain, 

And o'er the famed Ayodhya reign: 
I dressed in bark my days will spend 
Where Dandak's forest wilds extend. 
So Dasaratha spoke, our king, 
His share to each apportioning 
Before his honoured servants' eyes: 
Then, heir of bliss, he sought the skies. 
The righteous monarch's honoured will, 
Whom all revered, must guide thee still, 
And thou must still enjoy the share 
Assigned thee by our father's care. 
So I till twice seven years are spent 
Will roam this wood in banishment, 
Contented with the lot which he, 
My high-souled sire, has given me. 
The charge the monarch gave, endeared 
To all mankind, by all revered, 

Peer of the Lord Supreme, 
Far better, richer far in gain 
Of every blessing than to reign 

O'er all the worlds I deem." 

Canto CII. Bharat's Tidings. 

He spoke: and Bharat thus replied: 
"If, false to every claim beside, 
I ne'er in kingly duties fail, 
What will my royal life avail? 
Still should the custom be observed, 

Canto CIII. The Funeral Libation. 741 

From which our line has never swerved, 

Which to the younger son ne'er gives 

The kingdom while the elder lives. 

Now to Ayodhya rich and fair 

With me, O Raghu's son, repair, 

And to protect and gladden all 

Our house, thyself as king install. 

A king the world's opinion deems 

A man: to me a God he seems, 

Whose life in virtuous thoughts and deeds 

The lives of other men exceeds. 

When I in distant Kekaya stayed, 

And thou hadst sought the forest shade, 

Our father died, the saints' delight, 

So constant in each holy rite. 

Scarce with thy wife and Lakshman thou 

Hadst journeyed forth to keep the vow, 

When mourning for his son, forspent, 

To heavenly rest the monarch went. 

Then up, O lord of men, away! 

His funeral rites of water pay: 

I and Satrughna, ere we came, 

Neglected not the sacred claim. 

But in the spirit-world, they say, 

That gift alone is fresh for aye 

Which best beloved hands have poured; 

And thou his dearest art, my lord. 

For thee he longed, for thee he grieved, 

His every thought on thee was bent, 
And crushed by woe, of thee bereaved, 

He thought of thee as hence he went." 

742 The Ramayana 

Canto OIL The Funeral Libation. 

When Rama heard from Bharat each 
Dark sorrow of his mournful speech, 
And tidings of his father dead, 
His spirits fell, his senses fled. 
For the sad words his brother spoke 
Struck on him like a thunder stroke, 
Fierce as the bolt which Indra throws, 
The victor of his Daitya foes. 
Raising his arms in anguish, he, 
As when the woodman hews a tree 
With its fair flowery branches crowned, 
Fainted and fell upon the ground. 
Lord of the earth to earth he sank, 
Helpless, as when a towering bank 
With sudden ruin buries deep 
An elephant who lay asleep. 
Then swift his wife and brothers flew, 
And water, weeping, o'er him threw. 
As slowly sense and strength he gained, 
Fast from his eyes the tears he rained, 
And then in accents sad and weak 
Kakutstha's son began to speak, 
And mourning for the monarch dead, 
With righteous words to Bharat said: 
"What calls me home, when he, alas, 
Has gone the way which all must pass? 
Of him, the best of kings bereft 
What guardian has Ayodhya left? 
How may I please his spirit? how 
Delight the high-souled monarch now, 
Who wept for me and went above 
By me ungraced with mourning love? 

Canto CIII. The Funeral Libation. 743 

Ah, happy brothers ! you have paid 
Due offerings to his parting shade. 
E'en when my banishment is o'er, 
Back to my home I go no more, 
To look upon the widowed state 
Reft of her king, disconsolate. 
E'en then, O tamer of the foe, 
If to Ayodhya's town I go, 
Who will direct me as of old, 
Now other worlds our father hold? 
From whom, my brother, shall I hear 
Those words which ever charmed mine ear 
And filled my bosom with delight 
Whene'er he saw me act aright?" 

Thus Rama spoke: then nearer came 
And looking on his moonbright dame, 
"Sita, the king is gone," he said: 

"And Lakshman, know thy sire is dead, [212] 

And with the Gods on high enrolled: 
This mournful news has Bharat told." 
He spoke: the noble youths with sighs 
Rained down the torrents from their eyes. 
And then the brothers of the chief 
With words of comfort soothed his grief: 
"Now to the king our sire who